In the building where I rent office space to see my private clients, there are several therapists down the hall from me. Last year, one of the therapists made a remark that has stuck with me. She said, “It’s always so busy this time of year. People hate the holidays.”

Her statement always rolls around in my head this time of year.

I’m no stranger to struggling with unpleasant thoughts and experiences in relation to the holidays. In 2016, I wrote a post about how I got super sick the first few Christmases after my Dad passed away. I completely overlooked the connection between missing him and what I was experiencing. I haven’t been sick at Christmas since I realized what was going on. If you’d like to read that post, you can find it here.

It still saddens me to think about how times that are meant to be celebratory cause so much pain for so many people.

I invite you to deeply consider your own thoughts and feelings about the holidays, to give yourself permission to come up with a plan… to celebrate or not, to participate or not. Contemplate what you want and how you can step into that vision, regardless of whether it conforms to anyone else’s ideas of what the holidays are or should be. Regardless of whether it fits your family’s expectations of how you show up and what role you play in their holiday, consider what you need, with radical self-honesty for who you are, what you desire, where you’re at and what you’re currently capable of.

I’ll be right there with you, wading through my own thoughts and feelings about what the holidays mean to me, imagining how I can design them to feel like true celebrations and how I can let go of anything that makes me stressed or unhappy.

Right now, I’m focusing on what I know I enjoy – watching the classic Christmas animated movies like Santa is Coming to Town, The Grinch, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The movies, A Christmas Carol, and, It’s a Wonderful Life, are also traditions that I enjoy.

I’m completely addicted to sappy Christmas movies on Netflix and have been watching them for weeks! I love getting swept into the magic and simplicity of feeling like anything is possible.

I also love Christmas decorations. I didn’t feel like taking out any Halloween or Thanksgiving decorations this year, but I couldn’t wait to get out our Christmas stuff! My house is filled with all kinds of fun and meaningful items, including some of my Dad’s pieces from his Christmas village.

I enjoy buying gifts for friends and family. I especially love seeing their faces as they open them! I adore having my sons home on Christmas morning. I know those days are numbered as they get older and create their own lives and I try to be really present when I am with them.

I try to keep my holiday meals simple. And I enlist and accept help as much as possible.

I do my best to have other fun things on my calendar as well, and downtime to rest and be with myself, feel my feelings and hear my own thoughts.

What you desire may be completely different. No matter how traditional, non-traditional or off the wall you may think your desires are, I invite you to work on accepting and honoring them.

You are unique. You matter. No one else’s desires or expectations are more important than your own.

I hope you’ll take the time to find your own version of magic and celebration during the holidays and throughout the year.

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