5 Tips to Celebrate the Ghost of Christmas Past
Too often, the Ghost of Christmas past (insert your favorite winter holiday) interferes with our present day holiday joy. Christmas is often filled with caroling, decorating the tree, baking cookies, wrapping presents and family traditions. But what if loved ones have passed away or are no longer in your life?
Like many of my clients, I have wonderful memories hanging Christmas ornaments, baking cookies, wrapping gifts of love, singing Christmas carols and touring Christmas lights. Sadly, many of my relatives from these wonderful memories have passed away; my mother, brother, grandparents, a cousin.
FINDING CHRISTMAS JOY WHEN MISSING LOVED ONES
Holidays are stressful for many and may be filled with regret and longing for what used to be or what might have been. People often say Christmas is for the children. What if you have no children, a significant other, your parents have passed away or you are a divorced parent and unable to see your children? How do you experience the joy of the holiday season? Or perhaps old family traditions have been replaced due to having a blended family or living far away from family.
Here are a few tips to help keep the holiday blues away...
1. Write Your Own Christmas Story/Poem.
Close your eyes and recall as many details as you can about a positive holiday memory. How old were you, who else does it involve, how did you feel at the time? Did you know that recalling previous happy memories helps create current feelings of happiness?
2. Treat Yourself to Christmas Gifts.
Yes, it is ok to do something extra special for yourself and not feel guilty, especially if your parents and siblings have passed or there is a family estrangement. Imagine the gift is from a loved one. If you want to get creative, wrap them and put them under the tree.
3. Give Yourself Permission to Cry.
Sometimes, we just need to be sad and cry instead of pretending everything is great. Honor your memories and loved ones you have lost. Take a mental health day if need be.
4. Start an Ornament Collection. Collect ornaments from your favorite travels or those that remind you of loved ones. Likely, it will help you feel more connected with loved ones.
5. Send Notes of Gratitude. Our "happy center" in our brains gets turned on when we give to others, whether it be monetary gifts or acts of kindness.
Until next time,
Sara Minges, M.S.