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What if it isn't the most wonderful time of year?

Although we are told it is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” the truth is, for many people, it simply isn’t.

The supermarket shelves are stocked full of green and red candies the moment Thanksgiving dinners are consumed. Radio tunes shift from today’s hits to the voices of Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Bing Crosby. The television blares with advertisements for the season’s hottest gifts, romanticized holiday movies, and specialized local events. Our society is inundated with messaging that tells us this idealistic picture is what the holidays SHOULD be. There is an unspoken pressure to have everything look and feel a certain way. When ones’ reality does not align with this narrative, it can create a sense of isolation and shame.

There are many reasons why one may not be in the spirit of the holiday. The increased periods of darkness and the winter cold. The death or absence of a loved one and the weight of a grieving heart. Complicated family dynamics and forced time together. Financial constraints that impact the ability to engage in gift exchanges and decadent meals. The collective pandemic world losses. Realistically, the list is endless, and there are no justifications or rationales required.

For all of you struggling to feel connected to the “holly jolly”, YOU ARE SEEN. Give yourselves permission to show up exactly how you need to. If this means

putting up less decorations, skipping the cookie exchanges and white elephants, or by-passing the main event altogether, that is OKAY. Should you decide to move forward with the holiday as planned, please give yourself the gift of grace. Challenge yourself to move into the holiday without expectations and cultivate kindness around difficult emotions that may arise. AND have an escape plan ready so you can exit early without explanation if you need to.

Wishing everyone a SAFE holiday no matter what it looks like.

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