Updated: Jan 21, 2022
Nope, not for me. I make my own traditions.
November and December can be hard months to get through for a lot of people. Coming from child abuse in my family of origin, I feel a sense of loss and sadness that I don’t have parents or (some) siblings that want to get together. I still feel that way even though I have wonderful friends and my own family who love me. It’s the holiday “idea” that bothers me.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and “happy family get-togethers.” Seeing the images everywhere can remind you that you just don’t have that happy family.
What if you don’t like your family? What if getting together with them leaves you feeling hurt and angry? Why would you go where there’s always drama and fighting?
Maybe you have bad memories of extra anger and abuse around the holidays, or your family had to do without and Christmas means disappointment to you.
Whatever you’re feeling is valid and comes from a wounded place in your childhood. It’s worth exploring, evaluating and healing.
Free yourself to make new choices about what it means to celebrate the holidays.
Make a list of things you enjoy and key people in your life. Then put them together!
Mine might look like:
Walk in the woods – Karen & Robin (or my dog)
Bake cookies – Angie
Toy shopping for the needy – Bonnie
Coffee and Facetime – Terrin
Don’t assume that everyone is busy with their own loved ones – just ask them to make plans. You may find some friends who are also alone and looking for new traditions.
My motto is FAMILY IS WHO YOU CHOOSE! For most of my adult life I’ve been choosing to spend time with people who lift me up and show me that they love and respect me. I try not to worry about the ones who do not.
Will you still feel angry and sad that you don’t have a good family who shows love to each other? Sure, but as an adult you can choose how much your past will continue to harm your present. You can realize why you’re sad and let it go.
I remind myself that my obligatory family get-togethers in the past were just that – an obligation. My parents didn’t show interest in my life or make me feel loved. Now I can choose who I want to be around and even be happy by myself. When I tune into what I need, it’s loving to make myself hot cocoa and read a book. Maybe there’ll be Christmas music playing in the background- and cookies, definitely cookies.