As we face the stark reality of a Christmas unlike any other, it’s easy to feel moody and melancholy. For us, there will be no extended family opening presents around the tree, no communal Christmas meal, and no shared Christmas Eve church service. Most poignantly, we will not be with our parents this Christmas, and we don’t know how many more Christmases they will celebrate.
Yes, the holidays will be different this year, but they can still be good. As a matter of fact, they can be GREAT if we choose to adjust our attitudes!
Here are the “BE Attitudes” that we’re embracing this year:
John: I must BE MINDFUL of Julie’s feelings. Pandemic or not, the holidays can be an emotional roller-coaster, so I need to accept what Julie is feeling at the moment. I must strive to be supportive, affirming, a good listener, and a frequent hugger.
I can BE FLEXIBLE during this unique Christmas….coming up with new traditions for just the two of us and/or our kids. We might try a new cookie or dessert recipe. We could eat Christmas dinner in our jammies. Maybe listen to an old recording of “A Christmas Carol” while snuggled near the fireplace. So many possibilities!
Julie: We can BE CONNECTED with our kids and extended family by sharing our family dinner or dessert “virtually” via Zoom.
We can BE OTHER-FOCUSED and volunteer to deliver gifts through local charities. We could donate unused vacation funds to help a needy family. We could call or send a card to someone who is alone.
John: I can BE CHEERFUL and invite Julie to share in my cheeriness through my words, body language, and tone of voice. I can start phone conversations with “Happy Holidays!” I can put on the Christmas Waltz and wrap Julie in my arms as we sway together.
Julie: We can BE GOOD TO OURSELVES. We can go for a walk together and encourage each other to choose our calories wisely to avoid the holiday “spread.” We can drive around and check out the local Christmas light displays. We can spend time snuggling by the tree instead of watching TV.
John: We can JUST BE, savoring this opportunity to enjoy life at a slower pace, basking peacefully in the love that Julie and I share with each other and our kids.
Julie: We can BE GRATEFUL and focus on the many blessings of our life. I can write them down every day and share them with John, encouraging him to do the same. By Christmas, we can be transformed. The magic is still there - we just need to recognize it. And if we’re lucky, like the Grinch, our hearts will grow 3 sizes!