Holiday Self-Care

Neighborhood fall color

Here in the United States, November is officially gratitude, abundance and pumpkin spice month. Residents here will find these three themes unavoidable until the Thanksgiving holiday when marketing pivots to joy, twinkle lights and eggnog.

So I am going to write about something that the marketing team won’t get around to until January— self care. Many of us need the reminder before all the holiday bustle begins, not afterwards.

I invite you to pay attention to the forms of celebration that feed your soul vs. the ones that leave you exhausted, or worse- traumatized. You don’t have to cook a turkey from scratch or send holiday cards to everyone on your contacts list. You don’t even have to spend the holidays with biological relatives.

A quick look at the headlines will inform you that not every family is loving, protective or even safe. If your family is toxic, I hereby give you permission to create holiday traditions without them.

As part of your holiday self-care, take a bit of unstructured time with your favorite pen and journal, or just a used envelope and a give-away-advertising pen. Make a note of three holiday traditions that suck the energy out of you like a hole in the space station and three more that make you happy, or feel cared for. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now post this reminder in a place where you will see it often over the next six weeks. Invite in the restorative celebrations and avoid the mandates from other people’s agendas. Don’t worry if you can’t do it perfectly. Even one degree turns will change your course over time. My hope is that we end the year, not depleted and resentful, but full of joy and goodwill.

If you feel like it, post your lists in the comments. I’ll go first.

Exhausting: Black Friday Shopping, Making cookies, Plastic decorations.

Joyful: Spending time with kids and grandkids, Gifts for loved ones, Gratitude.


  1. Exhausting: Excessive decorating, excessive sweet eating, writing long individualized letters within cards
    Elating: Minimal personal item decorating, giving Advent treats each Sunday in the tree ornament, listening to my son read the Nativity story on Christmas Eve

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the idea of making these lists!

    Trying to find the perfect gift for everyone (This stressed me out SO much, starting in October…)
    Planning a bunch of activities/crafts
    Trying to see as many people as possible during short visits home for the holidays

    Christmas cards
    Christmas movies/music by the fire
    Cooking (only) our very favorite dishes and for Thanksgiving and eating with family

    Liked by 1 person

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