For many people it brings up memories of past holidays that remind them of emotional pain. Perhaps they have lost loved ones that are no longer here and they are constantly reminded that this is a time of year to be with those you love. Ouch.
Maybe they always have dreamed of having the perfect holiday celebration where everyone got along and all the hurts of the past are forgotten. Only to discover that the perfect holiday celebration is a big disappointment.
As children there was such a build up to the anticipation of the one day of Christmas and how much of that continues to be what we carry inside. And each year it is yet another disappointment, to the point that we would really prefer to not have the holidays at all.
After Ben died, my desire to celebrate the holidays died too. For years I struggled with what to do when these days approached. I tried going through the motions of decorating the tree and the house, buying the gifts, baking cookies, and all of the things that are supposed to make the holidays jolly, but I just didn't feel it. So I quit doing any of it. I know my friends were worried and my family put up with me. After doing that for a couple of years the life came back into me and I awakened from my slumber to find that there is a life worth living on this planet. What will make it worth living is how I choose to live it. So when it came to how I wanted to celebrate the holidays I decided to make some changes.
I began asking myself questions.
What would make this holiday joyful? What activities do I want to do because I want to do them, not because it is expected of me?
Am I feeling stressed about the holidays and if so, what is the cause of that? Is is because others are feeling stressed and for some insane reason I am feeling that I need to feel that way too?
From these questions I could then choose what would bring me joy and if it was joyful for me, it would be that much better for my family too. So now, if I want to decorate the house, I can and if I don't really want to I don't. This year I am actually having fun finding unique ways to decorate. My favorite is my Butterfly Tree. As I put butterflies on my little tree I reflect on the transformations that have taken place in my life. I celebrate the changes that have occurred and are yet to occur.