What comes to mind?… when you think about the holidays.
I was shocked and I have to admit a little disappointed in my one word response to that question when it was poised to me.
What happened to the sheer joy of the holidays that I used to feel as a child and young man? Where did those feelings go? Now don’t get me completely wrong, I still can find some joy in the holidays and I’m lucky because being around my family on both sides is pretty much always a great thing with positive energy almost all the time. I say positive almost all the time because we are a family, not robots.
The sure joy you would have as a kid for Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas was palpable. Now candy, good food and presents are always something that can bring a kid joy and even us older folks. But there was also and underlying theme at least in my home… love. It was about coming together to catch up and share with our family and friends and give thanks. There was something very comforting in that.
Fast-forward to now ,I have a wife, three children (two teenagers), a job (a good thing), a mortgage, bills, responsibility etc. and the responsibility of creating the holiday experience for them.
Here are some of the “hectic” things I have to think about when planning out the holidays:
- When am I going to find the time, to put up all the decorations, get the needed supplies of candy, food, presents.
- How much am I going to spend, how much can I afford?
- Where am I going, who am I going to disappoint for not being there.
- The list just goes on and on doesn’t it. I have a strange feeling I’m not the only one that can have these stresses and anxieties.
What I have found helps me at this time of year is to do my best to have an “attitude of gratitude and thanks” I know this is always easier said then done, but when I take the time to do so it always puts things in perspective for me. Instead of stressing about who I will disappoint, I relish that I have the options I have, many people do not. Instead of stressing about the money I will be spending on all of the gifts, I thank the stars that I have wonderful, healthy children to get candy and presents for as well as friends and family to break bread with – again, many people do not.
So I do my best to slow down, enjoy the moment and bring a-little-kid-sparkle back into the holidays. Am I successful 100% of the time… no, but enough to allow me to enjoy. I thought I would never be able to duplicate that feeling of seeing my new Schwinn Stingray under the tree and maybe I cannot, but seeing the smile on my children’s faces when they are living in that moment comes pretty darn close.
The holidays can bring up a lot of sadness, loneliness and anxiety in a lot of people. I sometimes am one of those people, even as a funeral director I’m not immune. However I’m also one of the very fortunate ones that can take a step back and acknowledge the good and all I have to be thankful for, even through this very hectic and all consuming time we call the holidays. So be the grateful one if at all possible and if only for a moment you may be brought back to that magical time of holidays past.
- When you are down, what is on your list that you are grateful for that can make you appreciate the moment and what you have?
- What are your fondest child hood memories of Halloween, Thanksgiving and/or Christmas?