The holidays are such a special time. I love driving around and seeing the lights, seeing people's pictures of their Christmas trees on social media. I love going to the stores and seeing so many people shopping for others. I love hearing the stories of people giving and I love hearing Christmas music everywhere I go. I love the holiday cards that people send and I love the extra time spent with family. It's the most wonderful time of the year, right? Sometimes, but not always.
The holidays can bring up a lot of feelings that we normally don't feel, or at least don't let ourselves feel. Sometimes it can be a reminder of family drama that took place throughout the year, divorces, breakups, separations. Sometimes it reminds us of the people we used to spend the holidays with but don't anymore. At times it can cause a lot of stress as there is pressure to buy presents for everyone you know even if you don't have the money to do it, there is pressure to spend equal amounts of time with each member of the family. The holidays can make people compare their lives to others; who has the best tree, the best decorations, the most money, the best holiday picture? We get relieved when the holidays are over and the new year begins.
It can be easy to push aside these negative thoughts, to pretend that they aren't there, but I have found that in order to truly enjoy the holiday season, I need to acknowledge the parts that I don't love so much and I need to let myself feel the feelings I have. If I don't feel the sad parts then I can't fully feel the joy of the good parts. I don't want to spend the holidays just going through the motions and painting a smile on my face. I want to spend the holidays feeling every part I need to and being in the moment because it is then that I will fully enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
There are two things that help me during this time of year. The first is talking about the things I feel. Being able to share my thoughts and feelings with others helps me not get lost in my own thoughts and not pretend they don't exist. The other thing that helps me is seeing the holidays through my daughter's eyes. Watching her pure joy as she experiences this holiday season helps me live in the present moment and not get caught up in the stress of it all. I wish everyone an amazing holiday season and I look forward to hearing all about the good parts and the bad. Happy Holidays!