Mercy Hospital & Health Services Contact Us
About Mercy
Join Our Team
set font size large set font size medium set font size small
email this page print this page
Health Article Banner
Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623

Mercy Women's Care at St. Charles
Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608

Creating a Christmas that’s Meaningful

separator It starts at Thanksgiving, that feeling that the pressures of the season are upon us. And what’s with that countdown to Christmas? You’ll hear, “Only 21 more shopping days until Christmas,” and feel a sense of pressure, panic and maybe even dread. Is that what it’s supposed to be about?

When you think back on Christmas seasons past, what stands out for you as an especially good, meaningful holiday time? On the flip side, what do you remember as a Christmas that wasn’t joyful or happy?

Now the more meaningful question: what was it that made you feel this way about these holidays?

Chances are, Christmases that you remember as good were filled with feelings of love and joy and general contentment. The difficult ones are usually marked by family squabbles, stress that’s been building since Thanksgiving (or even before), elaborate plans that didn’t work out as expected or a sense at the end of it all that something’s missing.

A plan for Christmas fulfillment
Now’s the time to take a deep breath and realize that this year, you don’t have to get caught up in activities that wear you out, leave you feeling spiritually empty and create tension in the family. You have the time to take a step back, before things get crazy, and remind yourself not to repeat the things that never seem to go well at this time of year.

But even more importantly, you still have time not just to decide what you don’t want to do, but also to decide what you do want to do. True, it’s important to identify the things that have always bugged you, whether it’s the last-minute shopping, the overeating, the non-stop parties and other gatherings. It’s good to cut back on those things that make life difficult around holiday time, but it’s also important to replace them with meaningful actions.

This year, why not make some overall changes that are compatible with your beliefs, values and lifestyle? For just about all of us, the more connected we feel to our loved ones, to our communities and even to our own core beliefs, the more satisfying and rewarding life is. Why should the holidays be any different?

Here are some ways we’re suggesting for you and your loved ones to create a holiday season that leaves you feeling full of love and joy.

►        Focus on family enrichment
It’s important for you, your spouse and children to stay focused on the reason why we celebrate at this time of year. Talk with your children about the values of your family and the meaning of the season, so that they understand that holiday time is not just about getting lots of stuff. 

If you don’t have children, it’s a good time for your and your spouse to think of new ways to create a special celebration that is meaningful to both of you. It can become a tradition that you’ll come to cherish and look forward to.

If you don’t have a spouse or partner, think about creating a tradition with other friends. You’ll be able to look forward to it from year to year.

►        Remember loved ones who have died
Sometimes we think we shouldn’t bring up the family members who are no longer with us, fearing we’ll upset others and bring the whole celebration down. But when you think about it, aren’t your loved ones who have passed away still very strong in your memory at holiday time? In a way, they are still there with you.

Instead of keeping the memories under cover, why not take a few moments during your celebration—it could be before dinner, in the evening when you’re sitting by the Christmas tree, or whenever it is that most people are together—and honor the people who are no longer with you? It doesn’t have to be dramatic or extremely sad. A simple expression of love and fondness will suffice, like, “Let’s light a candle now for Aunt Jane, who brought us so much happiness throughout her life.”

This can actually bring the family together in its remembrance, and remind everyone of their connection to each other.

►        Strengthen your connection to community
Another way to keep meaning in your life during the holidays as well as any other time is to spend time helping others. Living a compassionate lifestyle can help you feel deeply connected to other people. This in turn can give you a new perspective on life and help you respond well to the stress that comes your way.

If you help serve meals to hungry people, pass out presents to children who would otherwise have none or visit older people who have no family left, you come to see that your own problems may not be so difficult. You get a bigger picture, which puts your own issues on a smaller, easier-to-bear scale.

►        Nurture your religious or spiritual life
Even when you’re trying your best to stay grounded and centered, during the holidays, unexpected events can send you and others around the bend. Maybe it’s a relative who doesn’t understand why Thanksgiving can’t always be at her house. Maybe it’s the call from your son who says he won’t make it home for Christmas. Or an even more serious situation such as a loved one’s illness.

Remembering your core beliefs at times like these will pull you back to a comfort zone that’s always there for you. Don’t neglect that side of things, even though this is such a busy time of year. Daily prayer or meditation rituals are as important now as ever—maybe even more so!

►        Take care of your body
Caring for your own physical needs can get lost in the shuffle of holiday plans. Remember to put your health first. This is especially true if you have a chronic condition that seems to get worse when you’re under stress. If daily walks or swims, healthy foods, yoga stretches or any of your other helpful activities are what you need to keep yourself feeling good, don’t sacrifice them for a few trips to the mall.

►        Revisit your gift-giving habits
Buying presents can get out of hand, and not just because it takes so much time and money. What are the real reasons you buy a gift? A man named Robert talks about the gifts he used to buy for his mother after his father died. “Mom didn’t have a husband anymore, so I tried to step in and get special things for her that my father would have bought. But after a few years, I realized that no matter what I did, we couldn’t escape the fact that Dad wasn’t here anymore. My present to Mom couldn’t bring him back. And the financial pressure on me was getting to be too much. I began buying gifts that were more appropriate for me to give, and that’s taken a lot of the pressure off.”

It’s common for divorced or separated parents to compete for their children’s affections by trying to buy the biggest, best gift. This too, can backfire, and actually hurt children in the long run. It creates a feeling in them that they always need something bigger, something more, and they learn not to be satisfied with what they have.

Simple gift-giving makes everyone happier in the long run—even, eventually, children.

►        Promise yourself you won’t be attached to perfection
Expecting perfection from others or yourself is a sure way to set yourself up for disappointment. Relatives will argue, your house might look messy, a meal may not turn out right and your kids might act ungrateful about their gifts. Chalk it all up to the realities of life. Nobody expects you to be perfect, so why should you expect it of yourself?

After you’ve added so much meaningful activity to your celebration, it will probably be easy to let go of the things that aren’t so important to you. There won’t even be room for them, in fact.

follow us online
facebook youtube

Contact us
Home  |  Sitemap

Disclaimer & Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement  |  Notice of Privacy Practices
Copyright ©2016 Mercy. Last modified 9/27/2010