We all know that, as survivors and just about anyone else, the holidays can be fraught with all sorts of bad memories, awkward time spent with family, depression, and mourning for the family we never had. I’ve seen a number of folks listing tips for surviving the holidays, and I absolutely encourage all of you to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourselves during this time, and always.
In light of that, I thought I’d share something that has helped me. I can sum up the attitude in a sentence I spoke to my wife last night regarding something outside the scope of this, but somewhat relevant too.
“You take care of the people who take care of you.”
What that means to me, is that I spend a lot of time during December trying to fine small gifts, tokens, or other things I can do that will brighten the days for the people I most care about. Instead of dreading all of the things there are to dread about the holidays, or spending my time hoping for things that I’ll probably end up being disappointed about, I try very hard to concern myself with showing appreciation to the people who deserve it. I make sure and spend time with my wife, and allow her to enjoy all the things about the holidays that she always has enjoyed. I spend time going through the holiday cards my wife designs for us each year and figure out which one each of the people on my list would appreciate the most. I make time to have lunch with friends I need to catch up with. I buy small gifts for friends, not so much for the gift itself, but to show them that they’re important to me, and that in the midst of holiday craziness I thought about them for a few minutes.
Usually, by the time I’ve done all these things, like now as we close in on Christmas day, I’ve been so rewarded by the smiles, hugs, and appreciation of the people who are really important to me, that the rest is easy. I know where my support is, I know who’s important to me, and whatever comes from the next week or two is nothing compared to the strength I have within myself, and gather from the awesome people in my life, even those of you who I only know online.