Don’t Let the Holidays Get You Down This Year

Thanksgiving is upon us again. Maybe, like me, you have already left home and are among the people with whom you’re going to celebrate the holiday. Maybe, like me, you will be seeing people you haven’t seen since the pandemic started. Now, masked and vaccinated, you’re hoping it’s safe, at least from Covid-19.

You may already be facing the questions from friends and family that drive you crazy. “Hey, when are you going to have kids? “Don’t you want to have kids?” “I want to be a grandmother. Where are my grandkids?” “You’re looking a little chubby. Are you pregnant?”

You could spend the whole holiday sulking. But don’t. I hope we have learned something in our time of isolation. My prescription for this year is to be honest. Don’t just think it; say it. Don’t mutter to yourself or your partner. Tell people how you feel. “Mom, those questions really hurt.” “We are trying.” “No, we haven’t decided yet.” “My partner does not want to have children, and I have decided to support him in that.” “We’re having trouble getting pregnant.” “I just don’t want to talk about it.” “Please don’t say things like that; it hurts.” “It’s hard for me to be around your kids when I may never have any of my own.” Tell the truth. If people don’t take it well, that’s their problem. If they love you, they will do their best to understand and support you. Maybe next time someone says something hurtful, a family member will say, “Hey, get off her back. She’s working on it.”

There’s always the option to skip the turkey fest and go eat burritos somewhere nobody knows you. Or stay home and watch Netflix. But why miss the good parts of the holiday? I know there are things you are thankful for. If you get to hang out with other people’s kids, enjoy them. If you like pumpkin pie, enjoy the pie.

Don’t silently fume and go cry in the bathroom. Share your burden. it will be lighter if you do.

I dictated this post while driving south on I-5 in California. I know there will be less than perfect moments. My niece’s kids haven’t seen me in so long they won’t know who I am. But I’ll just have to get to know them because they are magical little people.

If you are grieving, think about a woman at my church who has suffered many losses, including the death of a daughter and the loss of her eyesight. She allows herself to cry for five minutes a day, then says, “Shirley, get on with it,” and moves on. Take your five minutes, then let it go for a while.

I am thankful for you. Last week when I was falling apart, you were on my side. Together, we can do this.

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7 thoughts on “Don’t Let the Holidays Get You Down This Year

  1. Hi Sue,
    Happy thanksgiving and I hope that you had a great time with your family. Both fortunately and unfortunately (at this time of year in particular) my parents live across the street from our estate. So the holidays include a lot of traditions and “together time”. Which is great for the first few hours and then it hits me at some point. Who will be here someday when it’s just myself left. My husband is my parents age. And my brother has health concerns(and will most likely never marry and have children). Therefore statistically speaking I will be the only one left. This is the thought that keeps me up at night. I do not want to be the person who lives and dies alone. Am I the only one who ever feels like it’s too much of a burden? And one that I can’t seem to carry today.

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    • Lynne, it was a crazy day for me, mostly sweet. I understand your fears. I’m living alone now, but I do have wonderful friends. I won’t be alone, and neither will you. If you don’t have the biological family, work on building a family of choice.

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  2. This is so helpful! I’m sure I’ll be using a lot of your lines in the coming weeks. Wishing you a joyful and healthy holiday season! xoxo

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  3. “Shirley, get on with it,” The simple advice is usually the best. I often let my mind wander and feel myself dropping into old habits and old hurts. When I stay focused, I am actually quite productive and accomplished. Time to pull out my phone, set a timer for 5 minutes and then resolve to get back to ANYTHING when that five minutes is up.

    Possibly my greatest blessing is that I will never know the loss of a child. There is a woman at my favorite thrift store who lost her grown daughter. She is so positive and bubbly and I wonder how she carries on so beautifully.

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  4. I put up my tree! I love having the Xmas lights on inside at night all month. I made a quick holiday quilt too. I also bought a box of Xmas cookies. I already ate them all haha and I put the festive box under the tree. I bought myself my annual ornament too. Oh! And I bought a holiday popcorn tin too. Ok, I’m not letting the holidays get me down this year. I’m enjoying the parts I like. 😀

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