1. Remember it’s all about the kids. Your own or your grands, nieces, nephews etc.
2. Building or strengthening relationships. Set up time for interactive games or physical activities- food does not have to be the focal point, especially when kids are involved, peanut butter, nachos or Annie’s would be a hit for the kids.
3. Acceptance. When you are not up for hosting or attending and the possibility of transferring illness use kind words and compassion all the way through the disappointment, anger, guilt and all of the emotions that can arise in these kinds of conversations..
4. Ask. Staying solo can be ok when this is the relaxing day for which you’ve longed. Otherwise, step out and ask permission to attend a gathering, ‘I’d like to be a part of your celebration if it works for you.’ Here is where acceptance comes in again. When you are invited offer to contribute something tangible even offering to clean the dishes or clear the table. Gifts of time and effort build relationships. In the event your request is not an option, exhale and consider inviting other solos to meet up. Even a cup of tea is a precious gift to give or receive when you don’t want to be alone. Call someone. Look online or in the local paper for community gatherings for folks like you who have experience setting up events to spread kindness with company.
5: Reach out. If you physically or mentally can not do the above call a support line- the people that answer that call are most often volunteers, who choose to be available for YOU.
6. Own the responsibility of your mental health. Think through the scenarios, be aware of your needs and wants. Acknowledge what will enhance your holiday experience. Accept and think through with compassion for yourself and others, about how the conversations will be respectful and bring you closer together rather than farther apart. ‘Yes, we are changing things up this year and it will be different.’
Holiday gatherings have been put on hold for many of us over the past couple of years or they were different. We are capable of navigating through change, no matter what that change is.
Change is necessary and I believe we can all navigate our way through together, goodbye for now.
I hope you find moments of peace this holiday.