The Holidays:Blinded by Stress

So, for those of you who actively follow this blog, you will have noticed silence…for weeks…almost a month.  The holidays, a time that is focused on family and togetherness is also a time we seem to all go on autodrive.  How many family focused activities do you do during the holiday that you make the conscious decision to do because you want to focus on family and how many do you do because “that’s what we do” or “it’s tradition”?

balls celebration christmas christmas balls
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This is NOT a judgment to any of you (or us), just an observation of our experiences.  Traditions become tradition for a reason.  They arise out of cultural norms, beliefs, and needs.  Humans need relationships, families need time together, and holiday traditions have become a way of ensuring these needs are met without thought.  We spend time together during the holidays because we want to, we need to, and we’re supposed to.

The question is, what is the quality of those interactions?  As we went through some of the traditional interactions, I found myself enjoying some and so very stressed by others.  I enjoyed the quiet moments with my children drinking hot chocolate and watching old school Christmas movies; I enjoyed our new Christmas Eve tradition of gathering with friends and family to eat, drink, and decorate cookies.  I felt overwhelmed and taxed wrapping and organizing gifts; I felt guilty sitting for christmas eve mass while others stood and annoyed my children didn’t seem to be listening; I felt like a failure when we stopped reading the advent readings–though they were too adult for the kids to understand.

beverage blur candy candy cane
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So…how do I trim the pieces that are unneeded.  What traditions are not only worth keeping but in line with our values?  And the one’s that are stressing, which pieces may not be in line with our values or what am I failing to see and build upon?  As with the rest of the year, holidays should be a purposeful manifestation of our values, not the blind walking through of traditions.  Challenge:  be purposeful in our adoption and living of holiday traditions in the upcoming year.

Side note:  As I write and read this…I am beginning to realize that some of what I may need is mindfulness–living and feeling in the moment.  (More to come on this in future posts)

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