From Dr. Jane's Notebook
What Do the Holidays Mean?
It's easy to get caught up in the holiday madness of gift-giving and trying to live up
to expectations. We often face the holidays with mixed emotions of pressure and
enthusiasm. What we sometimes forget is that we are a society of people who "do their
own thing". That freedom to be different and unique is a wonderful opportunity to be
creative. With this in mind, I invite you to consider the holidays from a new perspective
this year. Here are a few ideas:
- What is important to you about the holidays? Among the many choices are
religion, family gatherings, gift-giving, re-enacting traditions, travel to family
reunions, introduction of new family members, and mourning the loss of former family
members. Think of what you truly value about the holiday season.
- Decide on a theme for the holidays. This year is different and it
deserves a unique theme. The holidays often represent the culmination of the past year,
which leads to new year's resolutions in January. As you look back through the past 12
months, consider the overall picture of what this year has been like for you, and develop
a theme to describe your experiences.
- Select a goal for this year's event. Perhaps you want to renew
relationships, pass down a legacy of tradition to a younger generation, give more
meaningful gifts, or enhance family closeness in a specific way. Decide your personal
mission for this year's celebrations and work toward that goal.
- Count your Blessings! In reviewing the past year, we realize that
"sometimes we win, sometimes we lose". There may have been losses for you this
year, and there may have been great successes. It is also important to be thankful for
things that have not changed but that continue to go well. You may have enjoyed a good
steady year of work, and your family may have enjoyed a year of health and happiness. When
things go well, we often take them for granted. Remember to include those things that have
happily stayed the same.
- Enjoy this holiday without prejudice. Holidays can never be exactly the
same as before. Rather than comparing, try to focus on "what is" instead of
"what isn't" the same. Seek to improve your experience of the holidays by
modifying them to meet your current needs. If finances are a problem, be moderate in your
gift-giving. The expense of the gift is not equivalent to love.
Like summer vacations, holidays can be approached from the perspective of maximizing
fun and relaxation, working within a budget, and developing a plan that suits your current
tastes. Rather than trying to please others, consider how to please yourself this holiday
season. If you are happy, others will enjoy being with you... and you will give them your
ęCopyright, 1993, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated October 25, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon,