Thursday, December 6, 2012

holiday cheer

(The Cat Who Thinks She's A Dog, full of holiday cheer)

Personally, I love the holiday season, despite my general cynicism and crotchety demeanor. I love an excuse to select the perfect gift for each of my loved ones. I love dragging a tree home (aka having The Husband drag a tree home) and having the smell of pine fill my house. I love browbeating The Husband into hanging lights on the front of the house. I love making new ornaments every year, usually with a friend or family member (don't worry, the old ornaments get donated or repurposed). 

I have much to celebrate during this season, especially this year. However, not everyone feels the same way, for perfectly valid reasons. Times are tough, and life can be hard; pain and suffering (and family issues) do not, unfortunately, take a holiday. Sometimes you just don't feel that energy. However, for those that are healthy, mobile, financially stable(ish), and desiring to get out of their anti-holiday rut, here are a few ideas:

  • Be kind to yourself. Just because you're not a magical holiday elf full of cheer doesn't mean anything is materially wrong with you or your life. Instead of focusing on trying to be celebratory and energetic when you feel the exact opposite, just give yourself a break, go somewhere safe and quiet, do what you need to do to feel okay (within reason, let's keep to healthy coping mechanisms, mmmmk?). 
  • If you can, find things to be grateful for, and then go and express that appreciation in a way that feels right to you. 
  • If finances are difficult or the idea of choosing gifts for your loved ones sounds daunting, consider giving the gift of time. You don't have to have a special skill. I would love if someone gave me the gift of helping me purge my wardrobe and donate stuff I no longer wear. The only skill someone would need is the ability to slap me when I try to justify keeping a shirt I haven't worn for 5 years.
  • Buy a plant, not a Christmas tree. Feel smug when your plant lives and flourishes while bleary-eyed neighbors are dragging dead trees out to the curb in January.
  • Eat well. Eat healthy, satisfying, whole foods. It's amazing what eating healthily can do for one's mindset. Feel smug (and awesome) when everyone complains about the crap they've been eating nonstop.
  • Send a holiday card, packaged treats, or something similar to a local nonprofit. Try to focus on one that serves marginalized populations or deal with subjects that are still considered somewhat taboo by our society. The animal shelters will be inundated with cards, candy, and well-wishers, because society loves pets. However, the center that serves survivors of rape, domestic violence, the HIV-positive community, etc., may not receive much holiday cheer, if at all, from the community it serves. Sending a card thanking the staff for what they do is such a small thing that really, truly, raises morale.

(me decidedly not in the holiday spirit, France, 2007)

CHEESEFEST OVER. Happy holidays everyone.

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