Dealing with the Holidays


Christmas holidays present many opportunities for joy and laughter but for some, it can be a very challenging time.

Gifts are usually given to family members and friends at this time of year.  For those having financial difficulties, the financial burden becomes magnified.  The sentiment that Christmas is too commercialized is widely held by many.  So why not use this opportunity to put more thought into your gifts and give a personalized gift.  Give coupons to be redeemed for babysitting service, help with the household chores, or massages (I always include this in my hubby’s gift), etc.  Another low cost idea is to give baked goods, or preserves you made yourself, knit a scarf, make a table runner, put together a photograph collage, etc.  Giving does not have to cost a lot of money.  After all, it is the thought that counts and with this personal touch your gift will be more cherished.

For those of you who are newly separated, the holidays can be difficult, particularly where children are concerned.  Even if you do not have your children on Christmas Day, remember that what is more important than the actual day is the fact that you celebrate with them whether it is the day or days before or the day or days after.  Attempt to reduce conflict between you and your spouse as much as possible.  The adjustment is difficult for your children also.  Eventually, children will grow to love that they have more than one celebration although they may wish that Mom and Dad were still together.

For those of you without children, it may be a lonely time especially if you do not have other family close by.  Do not be afraid to reach out to your friends and neighbours and let them know you are alone.  You may just find a new lifetime friend.  Otherwise, join a group who give to others on this day.  For example, the Salvation Army has several locations at which they serve meals to those without.  You would be surprised how many grateful people you can meet.  Go to your local hospital and volunteer.  If you wish, visit your local Fire Department and take some cookies with you and chat with the staff. They’ll thank you for the cookies and will likely enjoy the break.  Go to an old age home and volunteer to help or just to sing carols for the residents.  When you turn your mind to giving, you will get so much back in return from the satisfaction of having been of service and making a difference.

There are many who are very fortunate to have families who want to have them share this special holiday with them.   That’s really nice but can be too much of a good thing, particularly in this day and age when many have parents who have separated or divorced and who may have re-married.  Then when the children are married, in-laws get added to the mix.  The visits can become very stressful, when rushing from one family to the next and being expected to eat another large meal on the same day.  My advice again is to focus on the fact that you want to spend time to celebrate with those you love.  Therefore, do not pressure your grown kids that they must come and have a meal with you on Christmas Day.  Decide on the day you are going to celebrate and extend the invitation.  If they can’t make it (for instance if they have to go to the other parent’s home), then simply change the date if you can or just ask if they can come by on another day close by to the holiday.  Similarly, do not be afraid to decline an invitation by saying “We absolutely would have loved to come but we are already going to XX for Christmas dinner.  We want to spend more quality time with you, is there another time that we can do that?”

You may be dealing with the passing of loved ones close to the holidays and there is the dilemma of whether or not you should celebrate Christmas.  There is obviously a grieving process and everyone processes loss differently.   There are no should or musts. Only consider that your loved one is gone, you on the other hand are still here and maybe so are your other loved ones.  Give yourself permission to do what feels right for you, not for anyone else.

You may also be dealing with your own health challenges or with the health challenges of a loved one. Resolve to make this Christmas a memorable and loving one for you and those you love.

It seems appropriate that my Christmas Wish for you should be one of Peace. 


May you find Peace, not only at Christmas but throughout the New Year.






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