If you have read my blog over the years, you will know that since my separation and divorce six years ago, the holidays have been a bit fraught for me. Geez, it’s hard to believe that my divorce was six years ago. Wow, that’s a post for my Emancipation Day in April!
Anyway, back to the holidays. Since I don’t have a strong family connection with my dad or my brother (I haven’t spoken to that Sack of Shit for years), the only family I am close to are my kids. I don’t want to lean on them for every single holiday, so I need to re-frame what the holidays mean to me.
When my kids were growing up, the holidays were always about family. My then-husband, the kids, the in-laws and extended family. My Ex is one of 4 kids in a close-knit family. We all lived close to one another for years. The in-laws and extended family were close by also. My kids grew up in a nurturing environment — just as I always wanted.
Once I divorced my husband, those family members are gone. They included me very sporadically and reluctantly on a few occasions, but I knew not to depend upon them. I realize that I have not released my married life view of the holidays being about family. I need to do that.
I want to re-frame the holidays. It is time because I will continue to be petulant about them until I can let go of my old ways. Here is how I want to think about the holidays going forward:
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful and reflective of all that I have. As long as it involves turkey, I am fine. It does not matter who or where I spend it (provided that there is turkey and pie). I have many things and people to be thankful for, so I will take the time to do so (with some stuffing and sweet potato casserole, please). I want to channel peace, reflection and gratitude on Thanksgiving. Leftovers would be a bonus.
Christmas is going to be a time of pleasure and relaxation. This year it will be spent with family, so I have to add in love and adventure since I will be visiting them. Christmas is no longer tied to gifts. I am not exchanging gifts with any of my loved ones this year. That’s a first. I am, however, sending my daughter a box of heirloom Christmas ornaments for her to use and keep. She is thrilled and excited to have them on her tree for this holiday. I am saving some for my son as well.
Christmas will be about being spiritual and appreciating the positivity in all of us. I love Christmas carols, the decorations, so I want to make sure I enjoy that. It will also be about preparing for new beginnings which brings us to New Year’s.
New Year’s is all the cliches of new beginnings. Out with the old and in with the new. It’s the classic reset button. New Year’s is about forgiving myself for past failed attempts and having the courage and optimism to start again.
It is quite easy to type these bold words and declaration of re-framing. Now let’s see if I can truly take them to heart. Can I stop my old, tired thinking and create a new reality of the holidays for myself? I like to think “yes”. I need to think about how I can create a small vision board that reminds me of these new holiday perceptions.