Best version of ourselves: A holiday reflection

Best version of ourselves: A holiday reflection December 21, 2015

winter-backgroundChristmas has always been the bane of my existence. The excitement over the Christmas season never fails to overshadow celebrations of those of us born near the Dec. 25th holiday. I still remain touchy about dual gifts and low attended birthday parties due to hailstorms and Christmas party overkill. To make matters worst, I am not Christian. Yet, few family members could ever comprehend that if I had to choose which day was more important to me- my birthday would be the resounding winner. No need for dual gifts handed to me days after my birthday.  All I wanted was acknowledgement and shiny things on my birthday. Feel free to forget all about me on Christmas. I celebrate the Winter Solstice anyway.


Oh but how much do I love the Holiday season as a whole?  Perhaps, in part, it is being born in midst of the holidays that makes me so joyous during this time. But mostly, I simply love people during this time.  I love the people who find ways to be the best version of themselves during the holidays. I love the people who embody the season for giving. I love the families who are able to put their differences aside and come together over holiday dinners.  I love the smiling  strangers, the caroling, and the playfulness. I am grateful for all the ”Happy Holidays” and even “Merry Christmas” as long as it is coming from a place of sincere blessing.  I love the pitch of cold on my nose, the freshly fallen snow and the glistening slightly frosted grass.  The winter holiday season at it’s best is beautiful, charitable, inclusive and playful.


2013-12-21 19.09.37There are the traps  that we all fall into during this time. The people who only think of charity on Christmas when there are suffering people all year round.  I would challenge the  person who is  interested in giving and service to consider whether or not they are doing it to feel good or to be helpful. I suggest the best intention is a combination of both.  Think about setting a charitable goal that allows you to give or volunteer regularly in a way that can be rewarding and effective.There are many people who are lonely or grieving during this time. Please, do not forget or avoid your family and friends for whom this is a depressing time of year. Even if it is scary, even if you do not know what to say, reach out to those who are experiencing lost. Offer your support.  Accept that not everyone can or needs  to be happy during the holidays but they still need love and understanding.

Now that I am older and have control over my winter celebrations, I have come to terms with my mixed feelings about the holiday season. I start the season off in complete selfishness, proclaiming the day of and before my birthday, Cecilymas. That time is about self-indulgence and self -care. When my actual day arrives, I am grateful for my husband and mother who always make it a special occasion.

Prior to my mother moving in with us, my husband and I would do a ritual and exchange gifts on the winter solstice. By the time, Christmas had arrived, we felt that we had beat the system  as we stayed in and watch tv while enjoying hot chocolate.Since my mother arrived, we have blended traditions. My Husband and I will do our usual small ritual. Then we will all go to Unitarian Universalist Church for their winter celebration  where we  sing a lot and recommit to our mission of service. For Christmas eve, we will hang stockings for  ourselves and our pets. On Christmas, we open the presents and go to my mother’s Baptist Church for more singing and messages of giving. Through all of the blending of traditions, my focus for this winter will remain the same: focus on self-care, relationships, giving, gratitude and being the best joyous version of myself.

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