Posts Tagged: holidays

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2014

It’s LOVE Day. And it doesn’t have to be merely romantic love. Love encompasses much more than that. In raising my girls, I took pride in teaching them about loving themselves and sharing that love with the world. This day brought fun into our home as we celebrated our love as a family. They witnesses their father and I express our romantic love for one another AND we included them in the celebration. As a parent, I prefer to write my own meanings and traditions into any holiday rather than blindly follow societal precepts. It’s more fun and calls me to define my own values, meanings, and celebrations.

As my girls have grown, seeing their ability and willingness to share love with others shows me I’ve done a good job. Love is important everyday and maybe we don’t need a designated day to celebrate it. And I say, “why not?” It’s nice to have a reminder of the importance of love in our lives and our ability to share it with the world.

This week with our ‘epic snow’ here in Asheville, NC, I was blessed to enjoy love and fun with my daughter. We walked and sledded together in the snow thoroughly enjoying one another. Our beloved dog Magic came along for every adventure. He is the Love Ambassador! Being present to my love for her brought great joy to my heart. It occurs to me, yet again, that the greatest gift of love we can give our children is our presence. They feel it when we are not distracted or caught up in our own lives. Their lives are enriched when they experience our loving gaze and full regard. This is the gift of love and maybe the best way to celebrate the day.



Does your family celebrate Valentine’s Day in a special way?
If so, I’d love to hear about it and your thoughts on the day!
Wishing you and your family a weekend and year full of love

Holidays Single Style

candy_cane_jpgDecember 20, 2013

Tis’ the season and I find myself without a romantic relationship. This must be a sign I am getting stronger since miraculously every holiday since my separation a man has been in my life to one degree or another. Two of them even were around just for the months of December and January. I now kindly refer to them as my Christmas presents. This must be a sign that I’ve grown, healed and am ready to go it alone! So why does a part of me say “this really sucks”.

The holiday commercials with all the lovers and happy married people make me want to gag. Seriously? Even when I was married and very much in love with my husband, those moments were rare. I see through the illusion and still it emphasizes my single-ness and irks me. Have you seen the “They’ve never been to Paris” commercial? (Throwing up in my mouth a little…) Thank Goddess I don’t watch TV very much. And yet they bombard me when I’m just trying to watch a little football! Geez! Can’t a girl just get her weekly dose of athletic violence with having her heart ripped out??

Of course, I exaggerate. It’s really not that bad and I am well aware and conscious of people in the world who are truly suffering. People who are far lonelier and have suffered much greater losses. And honestly, it nips at my heart…sometimes more than others. That’s just the truth.

So rather than count down the days till normalcy – aka Jan 2 – I’ve devised a primer of suggestion for singles to survive the holidays with fun and style. Even though I wrote these with ladies in mind, most are actually good for anyone out there. Read, enjoy, and share if you know someone who is feeling a little lonely and needs a lift to their holiday spirits!

To Make the Most of Your Single Holidays:

1. Go to every party you can and dance… whether others are dancing or not. “No” is an unacceptable answer to holiday invites. Get your boogie on!
2. Get manicures, pedicures and massages…touch is important when you’re feeling alone.
3. Make full use of mistletoe every chance you get. Kissing isn’t a crime and won’t give you a terminal illness.
4. Act as if…plan a romantic evening home alone with yourself. Holiday movie of choice, nice bottle of wine, roaring fire or cozy blanket with a decadent treat to eat. Have a date with your self!
5. Invite friends to join you for fun evenings out and tree/home decorating…no need to do it all alone.
6. Look for volunteer opportunities as wonderful ways to get out of your self AND meet new people…aka – potential date material. At least you’ll know they have a heart!
7. Make cynical comments whenever you want to. Better out than in with those negative feelings. Set them free on the ears of someone who will laugh with you.
8. Dress to the hilt every time you go out the door. Do it for yourself and to be ready in case a potential New Years date appears out of nowhere.
9. Make a plan for New Years. Don’t just wait for a good date to appear. Decide on something you really want to do and will look forward to whether with friends or on your own. Bonfire anyone??
10. Count your blessings. Being alone at the holidays is not the worst thing in the world. It just ‘kind of’ sucks. So think more about everything in your life that doesn’t.
11. Consider shaving something on your body in the shape of a candy cane (stripes and all) or a holly leaf. For men the possibilities are endless. Ladies, I think you know where I’m going with this.
12. Buy your self a romantic Christmas present. A new beautiful negligee or expensive lacy underwear? A coveted perfume? Go get it girl!
13. Enjoy your self no matter what. If your heart starts to feel hollow and sad, give it a minute, be kind to your self and then push on! Nobody wants a droopy face sourpuss at their holiday soiree. And that is not an excuse to not go either. Love your self, get out there, and make your holiday great!

Holiday Survival Guide

December 6, 2013

Buckle up parents…the holidays are here! Some of us smile and dance; others sigh deeply and wonder how we will ever get it all done. The societal expectations of the season, fed by Martha Stewart specials and unending commercials displaying ‘perfect’ holiday scenarios can delude the strongest of minds. And I have good news! There is a way to unplug and reclaim your holiday for you and your family to truly enjoy, so read on!Christmas

As a mother, and a very young one when I started, I had ridiculously unrealistic expectations of myself. Growing up, my holidays had been very magical more often than not. I endeavored to create the same magic, warmth and wonderment for my family. It did not occur to me that I had been an only child being raised by my mother and her family, which included three other adults. My expectations of myself were totally unrealistic given there was only one of me and yet it took a few emotional meltdowns before I could see that.

The revelation came mid-crying jag alone in my bedroom. I had been trying to do everything I normally did (which was already a very full life) AND add all the holiday stuff…cards, decorating trees, shopping, baking, etc… Was I crazy?? Who did I think I was…superwoman?? From that moment on things began to change as I gave myself permission to pick and choose holiday endeavors. After all, what’s a wonderful Norman Rockwell ambiance if Mama is looking like a deer in headlights with red, swollen eyes? Not pretty.

If you are interested in making your holiday one that is truly full of peace and joy rather than stress and exhaustion, here are some of my ideas:

• Take time to consider what is most important to you. Shape holiday plans around your self and your family rather than ‘shoulds’ from your extended family, church, community, etc…
• If children are school age and older, include them in the decision making by asking them “What do you like most about the holidays?” “Is there anything about the holidays you don’t enjoy?” Consider their answers, they are full of wisdom, and let them know about plans once they are made.
• If you have younger children, consider putting your tree or other holiday decorations up later in the month to delay their excitement and unbearable anticipation. You can also delay putting presents under the tree. Their lack of concept of time can make a month seem like forever.
• If traveling, try to have your own space where you can wind down and take a break. Plan outside activities with only your child in mind that are not centered around others. This reestablishes your personal family ‘center’ which is very grounding.
• Be willing to use TV consciously to serve your interests. It can help children to unwind, at times, and is a quiet way to spend time together just ‘being’, snuggled up watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
• My favorite decision was no cooking on the day we put up the tree. Ordering pizza freed me to enjoy every moment along with everyone else. Resentment rectified!
• I eliminated sending Christmas cards in favor of using that time to bake with my children, which took more time than doing it on my own. While I missed connecting with friends, I loved the slower pace with one less ‘to do’on my list. Some families I know send cards and connect with friends on other holidays, such as Thanksgiving or Valentine’s when there is less to do.
• Leave some space in the holiday schedule…don’t plan every minute. Leave room for spontaneous fun, such as an afternoon movie as a family.

My last and maybe most important suggestion is a post holiday debriefing that includes everyone in your home. Talking about the holiday, what everyone loved the most and least, what plans worked well and which didn’t, were new traditions created, and which do you never want to do again…etc.

This can be humorous and fun as you look back over the season and learn more about what truly makes you and your family happy. It’s best to do this before the New Year and write down what you discover. By the time the calendar turns round again, the joys and horrors of the previous year will strangely be forgotten.

Over the years I learned from my mistakes and created wonderful memories with my family. The changes I made were not all easy and the peace they gave my heart allowed me to be fully present with my family. That made it all worthwhile.

What changes will you make this season to retain your sanity?
What do you do different from others that makes a difference in your home?
There’s a million ways to roll through December and I would love to hear from you!