With the Holidays only weeks away I am beginning to hear the affects of changing families. The usual ol’ fears of how to deal with Crazy Aunt Sarah at Thanksgiving dinner have changed to “Will I see my kids this year?” Now that I am single, where do I go?” Whether the change comes from kids growing up, new babies being born, new in-laws in the mix, divorce, break-ups, loss of a beloved, or just plain I NEED a change, change is inevitable. Herein lies the peace! Change is inevitable. We can either let it bring us down, or we can embrace it and recreate our lives around it.
The first thing we need to do is allow old rituals to have a new face. The holidays are usually tied up around rituals that our families have created over many many years. From the exact time of the holiday meal to what is on the table, we find comfort in keeping them intact. But when change has happened in a family dynamic our psyche can’t handle having these rituals without all of the players there or when new players enter the picture. So what do we do? We change the ritual! Instead of a potluck dinner at 3, how about a giant brunch, or a beautiful candle-lit sit down dinner? Or how about eating out at a magnificent restaurant? If you go into the holiday knowing that you WANT to make new rituals then there is a whole new level of excitement to planning for the holidays. You can either feel the sadness of what was, or you can feel the passion of what can be.
But what if you are alone this Holiday season? It is true that this can be a time when people feel the loneliness of not having family near. Many people decide to hide away and pretend that here are no holidays. My experience is that THAT WILL BACK FIRE! If you hide away you are only re-enforcing that you are alone. DON’T! Sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself won’t make you feel better! Reach out to neighbors and friends and ask if you can join them. Get past the feeling that you are pushing yourself on them. Usually they have not even considered you may want to be there. And when they find out that you DO, they welcome you with open arms. Or get out and volunteer somewhere! There are so many places that need help at the holidays! When you see that your presence makes a difference in someone’s life it is all worthwhile! So your choice is to reach out, or hide away. I say to reach out and start new rituals in your life!
Now for those of you who have no changes in your family, I offer you to STILL shake up your rituals! Imagine the joy on your family’s face when you throw in a new, wild and fun aspect to the day! Go online and look up new ways to entertain your guests! Go for a laid back dinner with paper plates instead of the typical formal affair. I have friends that add a theme to the event and make everyone get involved! From movie themes to song titles they shake up their holidays every year. Last Christmas was Beatle’s songs and someone brought their version of Jello Submarine! If you have new guests at your table this year, ask them to share one of their rituals with everyone! With a Brit as a new member of our family we have added new foods and new British rituals to our Christmas Day! Include new members by letting them share a piece of their history with you!
These Holidays will be all that YOU MAKE THEM! Change is everywhere, and change can be fun. If you let yourself CHANGE your PERCEPTION who knows what your life will bring!