Barely able to sleep, I snuck out of bed before the rest of the house to see what was under the Christmas tree. Excited by the shapes and sizes of all the packages for me and my siblings I could barely wait! Since no one else was up, I decided to wait it out and sat on the ottoman in the corner of the living room and fell right through! Instead of an ottoman, I landed in a terrarium full of hermit crabs!
My 10- year old shriek awakens everyone and my family thought I may have just seen St. Nick, but I was just trying to wrap my brain around these multi-leg surprises crawling over plants and rocks on Christmas morn. What kind of present was this?! Turns out it was the kind of present I was supposed to be excited about because they were mine and my dad thought it would be fun to watch them grow and shed their shells and be generally creepy.. When I said I wanted a mobile house for the holiday, I was talking about the Barbie RV and not hermit crabs. A little heartbroken (and grossed out) I tried my best to express thanks to my dad and quickly moved on to less alive presents.
I wish I could say that was the only holiday that I felt disappointment, but, like so many of us, holidays have not always been easy. There was the Thanksgiving I called home from a truck stop as I was on a music tour over the holidays, trying to savor the canned gravy and dry turkey. There was the Christmas that I was alone and cooked pizza with another lonely friend. And the one where no one ate the pie I made especially for them.
Holidays can be stressful as it highlights our expectations, old family wounds, demands on time and finances and feeling let down when none of it measures up. Family traditions that feel more stressful than festive and busy schedules that can leave us lonely or forgotten can be part of the experience for many of us.
No matter how creepy or crawly your presents may be, there are ways to find peace and meaning during the holiday season.
Some Tips for Finding Peace & Meaning
- Take a fresh look at the rituals that define your celebrations
- Choose what satisfies versus what is obligation
- Make decisions about what you want the holiday to signify
- Recognize that holidays can be times of great sadness and loneliness
- Avoid “should” when making plans
- Be gentle with yourself and others
- Attend to your body to reduce stress
- Move in an enjoyable way (great time for a happy dance play list)
- Breathe deeply before, during and after events
If the Holidays Lead to Feelings of Sadness, Anxiety or Depression, I can help.
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