I’m in danger of having a Not So Merry Christmas this year. I traditionally have various parts of my family join me as they can for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast, and an afternoon movie. Then I host a wonderful Christmas dinner for the entire family. This extended celebration allows us to reconnect as both a family and as individuals. Sound good? I thought so. This has been our tradition for many years. But evidently not this year!
I came back from a conference with the full blown flu. I am taking medication and getting better every day, but plans have to change. Both sides of my family have family members with health challenges. My greatest fear is to get someone sick. What do I do?
I could have a Not So Merry Christmas and totally cancel these plans. But I would really miss the family traditions (mostly mine). Since I’m already on the mend I could chance it and hope no one gets sick. But I would feel incredibly guilty if someone did get sick after spending the holidays with me. Or I could make it work for me, with the cooperation of family members. I chose the latter.
Making the Not So Merry Christmas more merry
I consulted with all my family members. They agreed to postpone the extended celebration. Changing plans worked for them as well, and they certainly did not want my germs! So they all have a chance to spend the holidays with their other relatives, and we will do our same holiday plans. My Not So Merry Christmas will be a merry one after all!
My previous article, Life Giving You Lemons?, discussed how we can take control of a bad situation. This doesn’t sound like an earth-shaking example, but it’s the situation I happen to have this year. My point is that I had choices I could make. I could stew in my own disappointment of lost plans and have a Not So Merry Christmas. Or I could make it work not just for me, but for the rest of my family as well. Much less hectic for them, and equally good for me to continue to heal. (This year’s flu is a whopper if I do say so myself!)
But what about you?
Many of you may face challenges that could result in a Not So Merry Christmas. I feel blessed that I can still celebrate with those I love, even if it does not match the calendar. We need to focus on our blessings more often. I don’t mean to be sappy, but this is true. How we think results in how we feel…..EVERY TIME!!! If plans change, make it work for you any way possible that still feels good.
If family is not around, then seek out friends. Or help serve food at a shelter or church. Try not to isolate. Helping others feeds the soul. If this year does not fit how you would have hoped it would be, look for what you can do to make it better for yourself…..and others.
I wish you all a good holiday season, and hope that it is a healthy one for you and your friends and family as well. Take care!
Susan Saint-Welch, LMFT