For those of us who were used to being the Christmas Magician, the one who made Christmas happen for a lot of years, it can be a little hard to feel true joy. In fact, face it, it can be pretty hard not to feel downright unnecessary.
For instance, I just heard from my son who usually comes to help me set up the tree and put out the outdoor lights that he can’t do it this year. Naturally, I feel worse about the fact that we won’t have our special day together, than I do the fact that I can’t do the lights and tree myself. I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you how I handle things like this.
- Be sure you’re celebrating THIS Christmas, not a past one that can’t be recreated, or a future one that may never happen. One of the hardest things about celebrating Christmas, and making it today’s celebration is that you have to face the fact that while it can’t be the same as Christmases when the kids were young, you mustn’t fall into the trap of saying, “Well, I just have to make the best of it, I guess.” No, somehow, you have to make sure that your celebration fits who you are today. I’m not pretending it’s easy. Indeed, I’m saying it’s a pain in a hitherto uncharted location. But you gotta do what you gotta do.
- Never, Never, Never watch TV News. You may say, “but I have to know what’s going on in the world.” So read a newspaper. I can suggest one. But after 35 years on the air I can tell you that those shows are not reflective of what’s going on anymore than reality shows reflect reality. Tons of studies have shown that people who watch the mind numbing endless crime, horror, doom and disease and gloom segments are much less happy and really know less about what’s actually happening than those who don’t turn the news on. Christmas Carols or a Christmas Story are fine though. Don’t take my word for it. Make a pact with yourself. No TV news til Christmas is over. You’ll be astonished at the way your mood lifts.
- Craft the perfect holiday – for here and now. Find a file card, preferably one with no writing on it. You can, of course, do this on your smart phone. Maybe. But I prefer a file card. Now I’ll carry it around with me and write down everything I can think of that I can do – that will make me laugh. For instance, since I can’t put up a tree, I could have an artificial tree, but that wouldn’t work for me. I need the fragrance of a real tree. So I can have a very small tree – The Christmas Tree lot will put it in the stand for me, and some will even deliver it. Or maybe I’ll do something entirely different. Decorate a three foot Santa, or something. I’m going to ask my neighbor to help me with the lights. But if he can’t help, I think I’ll wind lights around my porch swing, and put an inflatable Christmas figure on the swing. Very often, if you do something just a little outrageous and totally different that what you would traditionally have done, it will work better for where you are now.
- Make a Gifts of the Spirit Box. I found out about this wonderful aid to beating the blues when my husband was in his final illness, and all I could think of was what I was losing and that nothing would ever be the same again. A friend brought me a pretty cup, some tea, and a small box, very pretty, wrapped in lovely material, with a slit in the top like a Valentines Box. She gave them to me and said, “If you’re not careful, you’ll miss the good things that are happening now, so write them down or cut them out of the paper – when the kids come, or you see a sunset that’s lovely, write it down, and put it in the box. Then, every once in awhile, “pour yourself a cup of tea, open the box, and read what you’ve been missing.” I was pretty annoyed. It was hard to believe anything good was happening, but even at the darkest moments, there are good things, if you don’t let them get away. This simple trick has gotten me through a lot of rough times. The main thing is, keep saying to yourself, “OK. What next, what can I do that will be different, or more fun, or will touch my heart.” This is the time to nourish your heart. And Catch The Christmas Spirit.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Dorothy Wilhelm will be signing her new book, Catch The Christmas Spirit And Keep It All Year Long
- December 13 – 10:00 am – Dupont Library (1540 Wilmington Drive, DuPont).
- December 13 – 7:00 pm – Western Heritage Center – inside the Red Gate at the Washington State Fair Grounds – Puyallup, WA
Contact her at Dorothy@itsnevertoolate.com • PO Box 881, DuPont, WA 98327, or 1-800-548-9264.