Whenever I think of Easter I think of spring flowers, Easter egg hunts and of course…chocolate. My family did not focus on the religious aspects of Easter growing up, so during my childhood Easter was a secular experience which involved a long weekend, some treats and a good meal at home. In elementary school I saw “Jesus Christ Superstar” and realized that Easter had much more to it than chocolate and a good meal. I loved the music and the story, but I was at a loss as to how my experience of Easter matched up to the story I saw in the movie. It looked much too hot for an Easter egg hunt and I was sure all that chocolate would melt in the dessert climate.
Although the holiday season can be filled with action and activity, it is a difficult time for many. Some people are grappling with the loss of their loved ones or those they miss. Others may be dealing with the loss of expectations and a sense of disconnection during the “festive” season.
In order to handle the grief that can arise during this intense time of the year, here are four tips to move through those feelings of loss and allow for connection and joy to emerge.
The holidays are filled with social gatherings, family dinners and opportunities to connect and share the joy of the season. But with this festive season also come land mines that are within every family – all this togetherness can sometimes backfire. Just when you thought you might be basking in the bliss of family connection and caring, you may actually find yourself in the middle of a family meltdown. For many, this meltdown is one of the most feared events of the season.
As a Child and Family Therapist I encourage making family time a priority. It is important to know our roots, and multi-generational family gatherings bring us a sense of identity, support and love. Family loyalty, family connection and attachment secure us in this world. Every family has its history, and within that history one will find a mix of powerful emotions. It is not unusual to find a residue of frustration and suppression amongst the mix. Under the pressure of the season, and the heightened emotions that often come at this time of the year, you might hit a land mine before you know it and the idyllic family gathering may then turn into a hot mess of emotion.
The holidays can be a stressful time for any family. Family members can get lost in a flurry of activity, focusing on deadlines and forgetting about the joy. But if your family has gone through a separation or divorce, this time of the year may have a whole new set of challenges. The holidays can turn into a very complicated and difficult time for the parents and children from separated families, and below are some tips on how to move your family towards a meaningful and memorable holiday season.
The reality is that children who have parents living in two different homes may experience some extra burdens. They may worry about which parent they will be with at what time, and they may fear that their parents will fight over how they share the holidays. As a child and family therapist, I have had many children sit in my office who told me that Christmas used to be their favorite time of the year, but now they are just dreading it. In order for the adults to help manage this season it is important to understand what turns youthful joy into anxiety and fear.
It is the festive season again. Another year has rolled by and we are now busy decking the halls, trying to find that perfect gift, and worrying if we will be able to manage our holiday budget. When we pull out the old string of lights we remember that half of them do not work, and we are behind in our shopping. The Christmas commercials are in full swing, and each time we see a commercial we either see an idyllic family scene or harried parents trying to juggle it all. As parents, the two faces of Christmas are often reflected back to us as either perfection or overwhelm.
Many of the commercials try to tell parents that we can overcome our stress and have the perfect family Christmas, as long as we buy their product or shop at their store. That image of the family sitting at Christmas dinner, everyone smiling at each other and the ideal turkey perfectly placed on the platter, can quickly become a great disappointment if we make perfection our goal.