If the holiday season that you envision hasn’t unfolded, you’ll have to create it for yourself.
No one is going to fully understand as well as you do exactly what you need to feel content, joyful, and included. Sorry, but we can’t expect others to read our minds about our needs during this time of year when there’s so much going on it’s easy to be overlooked.
If it’s important to have a certain kind of holiday experience, it’s up to us to share our expectations with others. We’ve become so adept at keeping our mouths shut and then complaining for weeks afterwards that we were ignored or left out completely of the holiday celebrations.
Elders used to be the mainstay of any family celebration sharing the history and traditions of the holidays, but that has changed over the years. Kids who were shushed and kept out of sight are the focus now, and I truly enjoy this shift to the youngsters of our world. Who doesn’t love the wonder of small faces that light up against the backdrop of holiday decorating, baking, presents, and continuing traditions? These sweet kiddies give me hope.
If these holidays come and go and you’re left with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, the blame rests on you. That may sound harsh, but it’s true. I learned this lesson last year for my seventieth birthday. No one stepped forward to ask what I wanted or to suggest a celebration, so I knew it was up to me to create a day that would be delightful. Honestly, I think my friends and loved ones were relieved when I took over the creation of a couple of parties that would leave me feeling filled with well wishes of loving friends and family.
“Isn’t it selfish of me to make a big hubbub about how I want my holidays to look?” Yes, it can be unreasonable to think that others have the time, money, energy, and burning desire to make it all glorious for you. If they are willing, great. But if you’re afraid to ask or don’t think it’s appropriate to ask for something in particular, you’ve got to do it for yourself, by yourself.
It’s never too late to make new traditions and memories for yourself either alone or with a friend who is also in your same frame of mind. The first year we told the kids we wouldn’t be around at Thanksgiving because we were taking a trip, we got quizzical and indignant stares. But the kids were ultimately happy for us and, I think, a bit relieved we weren’t waiting around for others to create a certain kind of holiday experience for our memory books.
I encourage you to look around for something you want to experience that you can organize for yourself alone or with a friend. Sign up to volunteer at a food bank or dining hall. Take a day trip with a group of seniors to see a play or to view Christmas lights. Splurge on a play or live production that interests you, and splurge on separate transportation to and from so you can imbibe a little!
Don’t wait for this holiday season to be someone else’s idea – make it the way you’d like it to be.
Photo by Rainy Wong on Unsplash