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Reclaiming Holiday Magic

Updated: May 6, 2021

If only... We used to.. I miss...

There are certain challenges holidays bring when long-term illness lives in your house. At times it has us recovering from preparation, traveling and holiday parties that, often left us wishing we could slow down and enjoy more time together. It seems like we are always chasing what we don't have and missing what we used to have. When everything feels like it has turned upside down, it is easy to see the losses and much harder to harness the blessings that still exist...

As I sit on the eve of Thanksgiving I am more concerned with tomorrow feeling like another day, instead of making it a special day. Everyone is talking about how this year is going to be so different with Covid and how they are going to have to change where they go, what they do and who they are with and how they are going to miss their family traditions. For those of us who have been adjusting our holiday experiences for the last few years because of the ever changing abilities of the people we love and support. This years holiday season might just mean some peace of mind and an opportunity to create new opportunities.

We are generally desperately trying to hang on to the traditions and experiences of yesterday by trying to get our new life challenges to fit into old life rituals and routines. What most people don’t know is how much we as Caregivers have to accomplish before it can happen, and really up till the day it is time to go there is an uncertainty of whether you will be able to go or not. This comes with all kinds of guilt, grief and despair when we are trying to satisfy everyone, meet expectations and harness some kind of normal because you are desperately missing it. If you do actually make it, the time together is short and comes with an internal heightened sense of awareness and stress to manage it all in a different setting, being apprehensive about when you will have to leave (cause you never stay the whole time), and getting your needs of connection met before it is time to turn around and go back home. This is the old story I used to tell myself and the one that continues to want to creep in...It takes a lot of strength and courage to tell yourself a different story.

The new story I work really hard to create, is taking all of that and breaking it down and identifying the moments we cherish during the course of the holiday, the traditions that feel like home and the joy we carry in our hearts from year to year.

When you look at the holidays in their entirety, it is really about the time we spend together, it is about what we are doing, or it is who we are doing it with. If we looked at the moments that have always mattered and the ones we remember the most lets take a look at what we can do to actually “reframe” the holidays and reclaim some of that holiday magic... it seems like the perfect year to make adjustments to keep the things we treasure the most.

1. What makes the holiday special? Drill it down... Go farther than person and place, and identify the feelings that come with it and how we can get the same feeling in a different way.

2. Be honest... Have you always done the things you do because you enjoy it or because that is the way it has always been? Just because you can does not mean you should, and just because you should does not mean you have to. If you don’t like it, don’t do it....

3. Ask for what you need and what is realistic to accomplish for your family...No one is shifting cause they don’t know how to shift, and most times neither do you, get creative together, there is an answer...

4. Set realistic expectations...”Expectations are resentments waiting to happen”... You don’t have to do it all nor can you....stop it...

5. Give yourself and the person you love the grace you need to find the joy in the moment.

You are not responsible for making everyone happy, you are responsible for making your moments matter and building amazing stories for your family to cherish for a life time. Reframing and capturing the feelings is what is going to regain your holiday magic. This year take the opportunity to find what is magical in the new normal of today and enjoy accordingly...

Happy Holidays

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