It is officially November so there is no denying that the holiday season is upon us. For some, this means decorating the home, peppermint mocha lattes and endless friend and family gatherings. For others, the stress of finances, an overabundance of family time or loss make it harder to be as excited for the approaching holiday season. Unfortunately for most of us, we can’t lock ourselves inside of our homes and away from everyone from November 1 to January 1, so how do we actually survive the holidays.
Have realistic expectations. Let me repeat. Real-is-tic. If your family is budgeting especially tight this year, don’t expect to buy your spouse or kids each and everything they wish for. Set a budget that fits you and your loved ones. Pray for contentment and find peace and gratefulness in what you ARE able to do. If you lost a loved one this past year and this will be the first holiday without them, don’t expect for it to be the same… because it won’t be. Pray for peace, strength and take time to reminisce and celebrate the great memories.
Have a support system. Sometimes family members aren’t always our biggest supporters. We can often seek guidance from friends or mentors, so keeping them close and carving out time to visit and enjoy their support is important. Throughout our community, there are a number of different support groups that have special evenings to discuss grief, divorce or many other difficulties that seem extra hard during the holiday season.
Prioritize activities. There is typically no shortage of invitations to Friendsgivings or white elephant exchanges, school recitals, office luncheons, and the traditional family gatherings. Part of surviving the holidays is remaining sane in all of the craziness that surrounds it. We must learn to prioritize. We often feel obligated to say yes to every invitation we receive and we may want to attend each event, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to do each thing for every person. We must be okay with prioritizing the things that are most important for our family and sticking to just those things.
Do something nice for someone who doesn’t expect it. Despite whatever situation we find ourselves in this holiday season, doing something nice for someone who doesn’t expect it will spread kindness and open our hearts. We can often find ourselves wrapped up in our own difficulties that we forget about the people around us.
Remember what the season is about. With the stress of finances, anxiety of to-do lists or sadness of a loss, it is very easy for us to forget what this whole holiday season is about. Reminding ourselves daily that this season is a season to extend kindness, enjoy the company of loved ones and most importantly, celebrate the birth of our Savior. Seek after Him this holiday season and let the Lord’s light shine even in your darkness.
Surviving the holiday season can seem like an impossible task as we become overloaded with the constant advertisements, the weight of too many commitments or the overwhelming feeling of missing someone, but if we come up with a plan that suits our needs and have reasonable expectations of the season, we can keep ourselves above water and in good spirits through to the New Year!