Love Them or Hate Them, the Holidays Are Coming

4 min read
Carrie Knowles

Ready or not…here come the holidays!

Carrie Knowles

Whether we like it or not, the holy trifecta of winter holidays is upon us once again.

Throw in Halloween, if you must, but choosing not to participate in trick-or-treating is as easy as turning off your porch light and pretending you are not home.

The other three winter celebrations (Thanksgiving, Christmas or Chanukah or any other religious/winter solstice celebration this time of year, and New Year’s Eve) are trickier to ignore and carry more baggage than a bag of candy. They demand some attention as well as impose a certain amount of anxiety.

I’m not here to tell you what you should serve for dinner for any of these celebrations, how or why you should decorate your home, or set your table with your best dishes. Or even what you should wear to the party.

The truth is, none of the holiday trappings matter. What does matter is that these occasions are filled with the expectation that you will share a moment with friends and/or family.

Okay, that’s stressful.

Holidays can be and often are stressful. There’s family, and there are friends: some you like, some you don’t know well enough to like or dislike, and some who, at times, feel more like enemies than friends. All in all, a holiday party or long fancy dinner with too much wine and too many calories can feel like a minefield or a bloody long eternity before you get to dessert and can say goodbye to it all.

For just a moment, let’s push aside your personal holiday baggage and reframe these upcoming occasions not as a time to relive the past, but an opportunity to reset and rebuild your future.

What’s worth rebuilding? Relationships.

Let’s face it…the world right now feels like a disaster that’s not waiting to happen; it’s happening. Author Chris Begley, in his latest book, The Next Apocalypse: The Art and Science of Survival, acknowledges that there have been and will be disasters, and these are the result of a long process of change, not sudden bad things happening. He ends his argument with the notion that communities, not lone heroes, are the ones that save the day and survive to go on to build a better world.

Communities change the world. Not individuals.

Who is in your community?

COVID nearly destroyed the “communities” we once lived in and depended upon. Zoom might be a way to communicate, but it is not a community.

Instead of focusing on holiday shopping, why not reframe the upcoming holidays as an opportunity to reach out to friends and family you’d like to invite to become part of your community?

Nothing fancy. Maybe a phone call to a friend or family member, or ask someone to have coffee with you and talk. If you get invited to a party, go. Find a new friend: someone with whom you can talk and share ideas…especially the issues you might disagree on.

If we are going to survive as a community, we must be able to talk with each other about the hard stuff.

I didn’t say this would be easy, but I guarantee having a community of friends you respect and who respect you will be the greatest gift of the season.

Whether you put up decorations, cook a fancy meal, or get dressed up, use the holidays to bring new people into your big tent of friends and family. Build the community you need to survive and thrive.

Ready to start a new holiday tradition?

Light a candle.

Make a wish.

Say a prayer for a better world.

Be the light.

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