Finding joy during the chaos of the holidays can be almost impossible sometimes. It’s easy to get so caught up in your to-do list that you forget the reason you’re celebrating in the first place.
The song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has been playing on repeat in my head. It’s kind of like a slap in the face at times, because there’s a chance this year it really will be just me celebrating by myself. If we’re lucky, we may get to spend time with our immediate family, but it will be a little different. We won’t give each other hugs, and we’ll try to keep 6 feet apart.
There’s also a chance that I’ll be in quarantine in my bedroom if the COVID test I took on Friday comes back positive. It’s more than likely just a bad sinus infection for me, but there’s always that fear that I’ve got the virus.
Since so many other people are in the same boat, the testing sites are overcrowded with multiple hour waits. And test results that might normally be back in 3 days are taking 5. So my anxiety is a little bit ramped up right now.
Remember last year when I wrote about Managing Holiday Stress? Well on top of all the usual chaos of the holidays, this year we all get to add in more things to worry about.
For me the added stress is questioning:
- Do I have COVID or is it just a bad cold?
- Should we get together with our families?
- If we do see our families for the holidays, what does that look like?
- Should we order dinner so that we don’t have to worry about making everything and then having to change our plans at the last minute?
- Is it safe to travel across state lines?
- What about that one relative who doesn’t believe in wearing masks, are we going to take the risk and see them?
So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that stress levels are at an all time high for us all.
Despite these things, I truly believe it’s still possible to have a Merry Christmas this year.
A few nights ago I watched the cheesy “chic flick” as my hubby likes to call them, “The Secret: Dare To Dream.” This movie is based on the book “The Secret'”, by Rhonda Byrne.
The book is about the idea of positive thinking and how each of us has the ability to impact the outcome of our lives with our thoughts. It was a good reminder to me that life really is what you make it. It may seem cliche or hoaky poaky to some of you, but I think that if you believe something in your heart, you really can influence the way that your life turns out.
The thing is, it’s all about perception.
Let me give you an example. I have two boys who are close to the same age (6 and 8). One of them seems to approach most things in life with a glass-half-empty point of view and the other is usually a little more optimistic.
I told a friend the other day that my oldest is my emo kid. My other son is super laid back and easy going. So when we deliver bad news to both of them, it seems like the older one immediately gets upset and starts to think the worst. The younger one, often responds with things like, “That’s ok. We can still have fun!”
A change in plans.
We found out last week that my brother, sister-in-law, and their kids won’t be able to come for Christmas this year due to increased COVID cases where we live and potential exposures within our immediate family. We’ve been looking forward to them coming for a few months. We were all optimistic that if we were extra careful, and stayed home the weeks leading up to the holidays they would be able to make it. But sometimes the best laid plans fall to pieces. Understandably, they decided that it’s too risky to travel from Texas to Georgia given everything going on.
I waited to tell my kids because I knew they would be disappointed. Plus the day I found out they weren’t coming was also the day of their holiday parties at school. They were super excited about being off for the Winter Break and I didn’t want to ruin that.
The next day, my oldest must have heard our conversations and figured out what was going on. Either that or he put two and two together when playdates started getting canceled, school had to switch to virtual learning, and we started avoiding playgrounds if there were any other kids there.
So he asked me if his cousins were still coming for Christmas. I had to tell him the truth and give him the bad news. I could see the disappointment in his eyes. So I gave him permission to be sad. I told him I was disappointed too, but told him that it just wasn’t safe to travel right now. He stormed off to his room and started crying. When I went in to talk to him, he said, “This is the worst day of my life!”
My 6 year old walked in a few minutes later and asked what was wrong. I explained that his cousins weren’t going to be able to come for Christmas and his response was, “Oh….Hey mom can you read me a book?” Then he tried to console his brother and said something about how we could still do other fun stuff right?
Both of my kids had valid responses to the situation and were disappointed, but one reacted with a more positive outlook than the other. Just like moms can also choose how to react to the chaos they may be experiencing right now- The chaos caused by all the uncertainty and fear that we’re facing.
You can choose to react with sadness, disappointment, and anger. You can choose to get angry about your circumstances and blame others for why things aren’t going the way you hoped.
Or you can choose joy.
You can celebrate the small things that are going right for your family. Celebrate that you can be together.
Find something small to be thankful for in each moment. It could be that you have food to eat for Christmas dinner. Even if it’s not the usual 5-course meal with all of your relatives. Maybe you can think of the bright side that you and your kids have more time to spend with each other this year rather than traveling from place to place to spend time with all the different sides of your family.
If you decide to see your family, you can be thankful that you get to spend the holidays with them. And you can celebrate the fact that you’re healthy enough to be together.
Moms, you can still make the holidays bright for your family this year, no matter what your individual circumstances are. Sometimes it’s hard to see the light in all the darkness, but if you take time to open your eyes you will. It’s there!
On that note, I’m going to be taking a few weeks off to reflect on 2020. As much as I just want to forget about this year altogether, it will be good to reflect on the good and the bad. How can I learn from my mistakes and parts of my life I want to improve if I don’t acknowledge them?
I’m not going to dwell on the past too much though. Since there was so much to be sad about this year, it will be more fun to focus on the future.
We’re all hoping that 2021 will be a better year. I think it’s looking like that’s entirely possible. Yes, I know the virus isn’t going away, but I have hope. I AM trying to put out positive thoughts that I want for 2021, remember?
What will you focus on this holiday season as we get ready to start a new year? Share in the comments how you’re going to celebrate joy and what you have to be merry about this holiday season.
Get “The Secret” on Amazon here:
This post contains Amazon and other Affiliate links. This means that I’ll receive a portion of qualifying purchases made through links on this page at no extra cost to you.