Some may find decorating for the holidays while they are grieving (before, during and after the death of a loved one) can be very cathartic. Traditions like picking out the tree at the tree lot all bundled up and smelling the fresh aromas of the trees and poinsettias. Getting it home and celebrating with hot cocoa. Or putting up the good ole tree you’ve had for years and stringing the lights and hoping they work. Listening to the melodies of the familiar Christmas tunes we all grew up with, singing along, and hearing some new ones for the first time. Reminiscing through the ornaments as you trim the tree remembering the significance of each one and excited to see the beauty of new ones added this year. All of these traditions can be comforting familiarities when so much in unfamiliar.
Some, however, may find decorating for the holidays very overwhelming. It brings much pain and sorrow and the grief one is feeling has zapped not only their enthusiasm but their energy as well. Just the thought of having to go to the attic and lugging out the boxes is a major turn off. You may be worn down with a type of grief that isn’t directly linked to a death or illness of someone you love. You may be worn down with situational and circumstantial trials and tribulations.
What if there was a way you could find a glimpse of joy during the season? Would you welcome it?
You know deep down inside you really want to embrace that glimpse of joy and hope, celebrate in the meaning of the season, and you don’t know where to start or how to find the strength. Find a friend or a family member to help you share in the process. Many times, the younger family members feel the joy much more than the adults. Connect with those who share the spirit of Christmas and who can shower you with that love. Sometimes, we have to force ourselves. And the gratefulness of that force will be very rewarding. Listening to the children’s songs as well as the traditional ones and sing along while you are sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows or having that glass of wine; stringing the garland and hanging the ornaments can be a boost of joy your spirit has been craving.
In reality – if you find that you don’t want to mess with it this year or you simply cannot. Give yourself permission to switch things up this year. You don’t have to decorate to the ‘T’ or “keep up with the Jones’”. Choose to scale it down this year. Maybe have a small table top pre-lit tree this year. Or have a small manger with a light in the bathroom. This change of mind and view of the holidays is temporary and unique this year and this year alone. Focus on here and now. You know what is best for you. Go with your heart and your gut. That is God’s gift to you.