Holiday Traditions

Do you like the winter holiday season or do you try to avoid it at all costs? I’ve done both.

Winter Holiday CelebrationsJust because this time of year is full of holiday energy doesn’t mean “life” won’t get in the way. One year I went through a divorce, another I got laid off, and on a third (I wrote about that one in “Gifts of Personal Intent”) I had no money to even buy a tree much less gifts. In hindsight I have to say these experiences all helped me get to the place I am today; thrilled when this “season” rolls around. The funny thing is I don’t think I have ever been happier. In years past the “joy” was more a feeling of relief at having achieved some impossible goal, or getting gifts that proved someone loved me after all. (I told you I had issues-ha.) What started as a serious religious Catholic upbringing, followed by being a Sunday school teacher and becoming a “Martha Stewart” of the holidays having more than 25 people to dinner, evolved into ignoring the holiday, then reinventing it and now I just do what I want when I want attitude-I just go with the flow, and I am happier than I have ever been during the holiday season with or without a fat bank account!

This metamorphosis has evolved me. It showed me what I truly value and appreciate. And as a personal space advocate I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same; claim this holiday season your own way. It may take a few years of trial and error but I guarantee you will feel so much better standing up for yourself than you have felt bowing to societal pressure. A word of advice though if you do try to ignore it; remember it is still going on and plan ahead  because it will find you, either in music, TV shows or crowded stores. I ventured out one Black Friday completely forgetting what “the natives” were doing that day. Needless to say I went back home when I couldn’t even park my car for my regular-life food errand. Lesson learned. Like a chipmunk I plan ahead and note the days to stay away from where the crowds will be.

Now before you think I am a scrooge let me tell you that never happened to me but it could have. My “holiday issues” instead sent me to claim them for myself in an authentic “Ginger way“- not the commercialized or religious rules way. Each year is different for me because my number one self imposed rule is to be spontaneous. A few activities tend to repeat themselves and I realize that they are my “deal breakers,” the things I love best; such as baking cookies, listening to holiday music, and giving thoughtful gifts.

I keep myself open to celebrate any or all of the winter holidays depending on how I feel in the moment. Last year (2013) I celebrated Hanukkah. I thought it was too magical to pass up when it started on Thanksgiving Day. So I did some research to learn about this Jewish celebration of light, adapted the ritual to my own spirituality, made a “menorah” with white pillar candles and marked the eight days my own way. Some years I celebrate St Nicholas Day which is December 6th. This holiday is a German tradition and the day they start their holiday cookie baking. My children and I love to mark Christmakkah (from the TV show The OC) and Festivus (from the TV show “Seinfeld”) because of their humorous twist to the season. If you don’t have humor life isn’t much fun, so we make sure to keep our sense of humor intact no matter how stressful this time of year can be. I have a special feeling for the change of seasons and Winter Solstice is the biggest event of the year for me. This is usually the day I make a holiday feast and have loved ones over for a gift exchange. Some years we exchange gifts on New Year’s Day to celebrate the successes of the last year and wish each other the best in the new. I haven’t tried out Kwanza yet but I will one day. I love all holidays!! I love celebrating and learning about the traditions of different cultures; for me it makes for a richer life.

In the meantime I take it day by day and feel my way through the holiday season doing what feels best. One year my daughter had to have surgery so all plans were halted till the New Year. Life happens. I’ve learned to accept and enjoy what is. There is NO pressure to perform on a certain day or to make a particular favorite treat. If the music drives me nuts I put on a CD of something I want in that moment.

The point I want to make here is; do what YOU like, when you like and how you like to do it and remember that happiness is a choice. Start each day and say “what would I love to do today?” and do that!!

Enjoy the Holidays your way!

I’d love to hear how you celebrate.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach©


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