Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Grown Up Christmas Wish - Take Care of Yourself

Over Thanksgiving, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas. In the past, I’ve had a list ready for the holiday season.  And I do for this year as well, but something stopped me. My answer that afternoon was “Peace on earth, Goodwill toward all people.”

Although it was a silly answer, something stopped me from asking for material things this year. As the season has continued this year, I really do want peace for everyone this year. The peace I wish for is, the peace inside each of us to be okay with whatever life has brought us this year and the courage to work through those issues, whatever they are.

This has been tough year for me. Christmas is my favorite time of year and was also my ex-husband’s. He joyfully did most of the holiday decorating. I helped hang ornaments on the tree and futzed with stuff after he was done. We were a good team that way. The last couple of years, I’ve had to hold him off of decorating too early, or else he would have been done by October 15th!

But this year we aren’t together. As the end of October rolled around, I thought about getting the decorations out. To be completely honest, it scared me what I might find hidden in the tubs. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, we decorated the sanctuary at church. Over the last few years, we’ve used the KISS method (keep it simple, stupid) and now have simple, yet tasteful (and oh so fabulous), decorations.

I came home that afternoon and after plans with my current boyfriend got canceled, I decided to pull out my decorations and apply the same principles. I focused on the important things to me.  I focused on the tree, mantle, and banister and found a home for the nativity scene. That’s it. I still have a small amalgam of decorations stored away for other years. That’s always been my plan anyway, to keep them for other years, to decorate around a theme.

Once I was done, a peace settled over me that I hadn’t felt in months. Each night I enjoy the lights on the tree and in the garland that runs up the banister. The worries of the past year seem to be done and over for now and I’ve been able to enjoy the holiday season.

That brings me to my wish for all this season. No matter what you’re going through or have gone through, this time of year can still be peaceful and joyous. Here’s a list of tips I’ve run across in year’s past about making the most of the holiday season, even when we don’t feel like it.

  1. Keep it Simple. Again, simplify where you can. This can be decorations. This can also be the number and types of activities which you imbibe. As long as you’re not committed to volunteer or bring a specific dish, do you need to go to every function to which you’re invited?
  2. Create new traditions. I thought about this last weekend as I was driving to the Heartland Men’s Chorus Sunday concert. I’ve started volunteering there this year and now I have new tradition, the concert on the first weekend of December. If the events of the last year had not played out, I would not be involved in this organization. I’m glad to have the others in this community around me this holiday season. Another new tradition I’m going to do is go to my parents the evening before Christmas Eve. In most years past, I don’t go until Christmas Eve morning.
  3. Stay in the moment. In years past, I’ve had such high expectations for the holidays and then had been let down. I started doing this again this year and stopped myself. I now have no expectation of what the holidays will bring. I am doing my best to stay in each moment and soak up the memories that each event brings. I’ve already been inspired to write two new novels by immersing myself in the message and environment of the events I choose to participate.

I hope these tips help you like they’ve been helping me this year. Remember, I’m not a professional these are just some thoughts that are helping me. If the holiday season is getting you down to the point where you can’t function, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a medical or mental health professional. There is no shame in getting help during this difficult time of the year.


Is it possible for two Civil War veterans to find their place in the world on the Kansas Prairie?

My first novel, A Place to Call Their Own is available from JMS Books !

Love is greater than hope or faith, but can Leander convince a jury that the love he shares with another man is natural?

My second novel, Disappear With Me, is available from JMS Books!

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My latest novel, Need Your Love is available from JMS Books!

My contemporary short story, "Jackpot!" is available in the Love is Proud Anthology from JMS Books! All proceeds benefit the victims of the Orlando Pulse Shooting!

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