Thinking back on the greatest holidays of my life and how difficult it can be nowadays to replicate!
So what is it that made that 1997 Thanksgiving so special? How come Christmas 1989 was such a great event? Now, these were years that I was already working professionally, had young children, and a very busy demanding life. Therefore it was not lack of responsibility, nor in any way the experience of an eager wide-eyed 7-year-old all through Hanukkah.
There is something that we lose as we delve fully into the experience of becoming providers. I believe we may sometimes lose our way. This has been said over and over again as we finished off the last century and welcomed the new millennium. But how did it get this way? Most of us look forward to the happiness found in this time of year all year long, and then it is suddenly upon us and we panic!
How Our Experiences Shape Us
My experience has taught me that the greatest years of my life were when I had something to share, someone to share it with, and someone to say thank you (and mean it). Therein lies the problem.
The problem is that the last 100 years have taken us through a whirlwind of changes like never before in human history. For example, a housewife's responsibilities changed very little between 1680 and 1880. That's 200 years of very similar living. But compare the year 1900 to the year 2000, and now you can see that a housewife's life was completely turned into a web of responsibilities and expectations that would drive any society crazy.
I use the housewife as a general designation for western society. However, the same can be said for any other person or profession. For clarity, let me explain. I was born into a household where we shared our home with both my grandmother and great-grandmother, therefore their influence still resonates within my soul. I understood my great-grandmother lived with no running water, cooked with firewood, lived without electricity, didn't see a car until she was a teenager, didn't have a phone, nor radio, and of course there was no TV. Fast forward to when she died with MTV, computers, and AIDS ... it was a different world.
Wisdom From The Past
How could my great-grandmother pass on wisdom for this great-granddaughter who honors her memory with these words? We've changed too quickly! My grandmother was Rosie the riveter, my mother a 1960s rebel, and myself a fully overwhelmed 1980s yuppy, now with grown children who pay $5 for a cup of coffee, write (text) me more often than they call, breathe technology like dragons and even wear tattoos of them!
It is therefore no wonder that we can't seem to be on the same level with inlaws, friends, or family when it comes to the value of certain traditions. Because if we celebrate for the value and meaning of the actual holiday, we could rejoice in each other's company.
We can however, find a way to get together just to celebrate having each other. We can let our hearts fall in love with each other all over again through gratitude alone. If we remember to celebrate our relatives by honoring their existence in our lives, and coming together for traditional celebrations with this in mind, we can rekindle the joy of the season. That is happiness! Something to share, someone to share it with, and someone who appreciates us.
Live Holiday Happy With These 5 Tips:
- Don't cater to outdoing your friends and family with outlandish gifts. The gift of your presence, your best dish, and your love should be gift enough.
- Teach your children that when we are truly filled with gratitude we share our blessings.
- Live this truth by making your social network aware that you are celebrating life, family, love, and/or religious devotion.
- Stop all negative talk and judgments about who did what "on xxx holiday".
- Make an effort this season to actually "call" everyone that you would wish to be with on the holiday, and tell them why they are important in your life. That is the gift of the season.