I am personally very blessed to have good memories of the holidays - both from childhood and as an adult, but I am aware that that is not the case for everyone. However, even if you have a history of bad holiday experiences, it's never too late to start new traditions, create new memories, and develop a pattern and history of change for the better.
It's up to you - you have the power to choose: wallow in the past misery of disappointment OR choose to start afresh this year, with your family, your friends, creating new memories to take the place of your past hurts.
There was a Christmas in my immediate family that we wish we could blot out - but the truth of the matter is: we can't. It is part of our family's story, it happened, things were said and actions were taken that can never be undone. But what else has happened? Forgiveness and restoration. As the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:13, forgetting what is behind...we move from the past, towards a better future.
Not all of us have negative memories of the holiday season - some simply find it stressful because they try to do too much. Too many parties, too much family, too many commitments. Perhaps this is the year for you to simplify your celebrations.
Jessica Fisher (better known to some as Fish Mama), is a homeschooling mom of six, successful blogger, and newly published author of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook. Over the years, Jessica struggled with packing too much into the holidays, leaving her tired and cranky - not the the memories that she wanted to leave with her kids, "Oh yeah, the holidays, Mom was always so crabby!"
A few years ago, she decided to make some changes, aiming for "A Simpler Season", regaining her focus on why we celebrate Christmas, and making choices which were not always popular with extended family and friends, but were the best for her immediate family.
Three years ago, she stopped sending Christmas cards - and no one has complained. She and her husband keep their 6 kids at home on Christmas day - with an open invitation for grandparents to come to her house if they so desire. Two people traveling vs. eight? That sounds pretty smart to me! No dragging kids from house to house, trying to spend equal time with parents (and step-parents), in-laws (and step-in-laws), and closing out the Holy Day with full-on meltdowns by stressed out kiddos.
Jessica shares her e-book, "A Simpler Season", each year as a guide to help you take the stress out of the holidays. Last month, I had the opportunity to read a copy for free in exchange for this review, and I really enjoyed what Jessica had to say. Yes, she's a mother of 6 and I'm mom to none, but her advice for creating a simpler season works for those in every stage of life - single, newlyweds, harried young parents, and even empty-nesters can all implement ideas from this e-book.
If you're interested in slowing down the pace of the holidays - from Thanksgiving to New Years - I recommend downloading a copy of "A Simpler Season", directly from Jessica's website, or for only $6 through Amazon for Kindle download. At 235 pages, you'll find something for everyone!
What steps have you taken to simplify the holidays?
Have you found ways to create new traditions for your family?