Have the Holidays Become a Burden?

November 9th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger

I have launched my new website: http://www.JenniferGrainger.com for women ready to carve away what is not working in their lives, and soulfully re-shape what remains. What follows is the text of the first “Become the Woman You Were Born to Be” newsletter I published today.


Welcome new readers! Although this is the 72nd eNewsletter I have published, this is the premier issue of the Become the Woman You Were Born to Be eNewsletter, which is written specifically for women like yourself, who are ready to step out of the roles you were trained to perform, into the freedom of being who you were born to be. Yay!

With Halloween behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Remember as a kid how much excitement and anticipation you had for the holidays . . . how it seemed to take forever for it to get dark enough to go Trick or Treating . . . how the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed an eternity?

Well, fast forward to present time when the pressure to produce a Martha Stewart holiday is everywhere, including in your subconscious mind of how the holidays are “supposed” to be celebrated.

The question is: do you enjoy being the woman in charge of making the holidays magical, or has holiday magic-making become just one more chore to get through. Is “tradition” or Martha Stewartism getting too much “should” time when you think about your holiday to do list?

It is not surprising that each year more women are opting out of pulling off a traditional holiday in favor of self-care by choosing to spend the holidays in unconventional ways that rejuvenate their souls and make their hearts sing.

Like . . .

. . . going away for a few days with the people you want to spend time with (which may be just yourself if your heart and soul are craving some alone time to regroup). Brian and Sylvia, my former in-laws, once opted out of the holiday hoopla by going on vacation without leaving home. (This was long before the concept of a “staycation” was in vogue.)

They told their family and friends they would be at a cabin in the woods for the holidays. They filled the larder with goodies, brought in a stack of firewood, unplugged the phone, and put an “out of order” sign on the doorbell. They put on their coats and hats, got in their car, drove a few miles out of town to a “special occasion restaurant” for brunch. Then returned home as if arriving at a remote cabin in the woods.

Feeling like naughty children who had cut school for a day at the beach, the stolen days were filled with spontaneous laughter and cozy together time.

Have you thought of something you’d rather do for the holidays, and then dismissed it because it was too “far out” from what has become custom? Does thinking about bringing up the idea of doing something different (like not spending it with extended family) seem too radical? Do you need justification for tossing tradition out the window (especially for your own inner-critic who is so quick to shout “selfish” at you)?

This may help.

Every tradition began with a one-time event and simply carried on from there. There is nothing that says you can’t start a new tradition anytime you want. You could start a new tradition of being non-traditional, how about that?

We often forget that our holiday traditions originated in a time when we were an agricultural nation. Not a lot went on in the winter. Days were short. Night was long. Plenty of time to plan and look forward to Thanksgiving with family and friends that you hadn’t seen or talked to in ages! Christmas gifts were mostly handmade. One to a customer.

How crazy is it to let a last century tradition dictate how you will spend your holidays when you are living in a time of instant everything? There is no down time that needs to be filled with something to do until spring arrives!

We are in a new century. Life as we have known it for many generations is falling apart in every sector of life. The old rules, the old ways of doing things, the old ways of family structure are disintegrating right before our eyes.

This means that living our lives from the outside in, that is, looking outside of ourselves for the “right” thing to do, just won’t fly anymore. Yet making the shift from being outer-directed to being inner-directed is not that easy, especially when the concept of “selfishness” is so ingrained in our psyches.

BOTTOM LINE: There is no time like the present to be asking yourself these two insight-generating questions: 1. What am I doing? 2. Why am I doing it? Well, OK, add this third question: 3. What do I want? (as in, what makes my heart sing and my soul jump for joy?)
Then start pushing stuff off your overloaded plate, starting with the changes that are the easiest to make and meet with the least resistance!

TIP: Look out for the “you are sooooo selfish” gremlin to jump out at you. It can’t help it. It is a survival technique from hundreds of years ago when “self-centered” people got exiled from the tribe where certain death awaited them. The cosmic joke is that unless you are currently centered in your self in this drastically changing time, you are in danger of missing the signals you need to be in the right place at the right time when sh*t happens.

P.S. When breaking with tradition the only “reason” you need is “I don’t want to do this anymore, because I don’t want to.” Simple as that. No further explanation needed. Not to yourself. Not to anyone else. Anyone who demands a “reasonable reason why” is a lunkhead . . . just my opinion, of course.

P.P.S. If making changes to holiday tradition that lighten your load and make the holidays a joy for you is likely to be met with fierce resistance from the people who benefit from you working like a dog to get it all done, consider getting support from me to help you gently carve away what is not working and soulfully re-shaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for. You are worth it,  and you deserve it. Yes, indeed, you do!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your plans for the holidays? Leave  your comments below!



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