Christmas with family…
…What thoughts, emotions and memories do those words evoke from your own experience?
In a recent Blog post we considered how the holidays can engage all 8 dimensions of our whole lives. This engagement is most magnified in our activities and life experiences around the Christmas holiday.
One reason this particular holiday is so memorable is the differences it brings to the patterns of our daily life.
Three Changes Make Christmas Memorable
- A break in life’s daily grind. Whether you love your day-to-day occupation or wish you could do something—anything—else with your time, Christmas almost always brings some break from the normal and mundane activity that defines the waking and working hours of our day. This break creates differences in our experience that become memorable because of the variation from normal.
- Gifts given and received. While we give gifts in our culture on many occasions, no event is so focused on gift-giving as is Christmas. At LDG, we hope you have experienced the magic memories of a special gift in your life at Christmastime. And, we hope you also have experienced the joy of giving a very special gift at Christmas. We also know from long experience that the memories of gifts expected and not received, or of the disappointment and pressure of not finding the right gift can color these memories.
- Gathering with loved ones. Most Christmas holidays include a gathering with those closest to us for celebration, the exchange of gifts and partaking in a special meal together.
During this particular holiday, each of these three changes are usually focused on our family; that happy, frustrating, fulfilling, fearful, admirable, annoying…well, just complicated…group of people that we never chose to live with, but who throughout our lives will do so much to define who we are.
Thriving While Celebrating Christmas with Family
Who among us does not have some very special memory of a Christmas celebration with our family? At LDG we hope all who read this post can think of a specific, good and happy memory of family at Christmastime.
Likewise, who among us does not have some memory of Christmas with—or perhaps without—family that evokes sour, unhappy or perhaps even destructive memories? The Christmas in my life that I most wish was forgettable was one spent at a military post overseas and far from any of my family. It was a subdued, quiet day without any true celebration. We had the day off, of course, which only made the day longer and less happy for most who shared it together.
How about you? Does Christmas arouse family memories that are good or unpleasant? Does anticipation of time with family attract or terrify you? At LDG, we are certain all can thrive during Christmas with family because of…or despite…what the holiday has meant in the past.
Christmas may bring mostly good memories for you and you want to recreate those memories for your own current family. If so, here are three good questions to think through and answer for your own family situation. Be specific with answers:
- What three things best describe what you want Christmas to be for your current family?
- What three words best describe what you want it to mean for them?
- What three specific things can you do this year to create that environment and meaning for your own family?
Or, Christmas may elicit mostly unhappy and painful memories of experiences with the family in which you were raised, or perhaps even your current family. You need not remain shackled by those experiences and memories. You can choose to be something different and to create a different family experience than those that bring back painful memories for you. Again, here are three good questions to think through and answer for your own family situation. Be specific with answers:
- What three words best describe who you want to be at Christmastime within your own family?
- What are the three most significant ways what you envision will make you different than you have been in the past or will be different than those who are responsible for your unhappy memories?
- What three things will you do—this year—within your own family situation to begin to change?
In our culture, Christmas is perhaps the most meaningful family time of the year. At LDG, we yearn that it will be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (in the words of that familiar song playing on Pandora right at the moment I write these words) for you and for your family. We are certain it can be whether or not that has been your experience in your own past. There is no time like the present to begin to change.
How about you? What are your best memories of Christmas? What are your worst? What one thing will you do this year to create good memories of Christmas in your family? Leave a comment and let’s share good ideas and experiences both good and not-so-good…