One month until Christmas. That time is going to fly by in the hyper holiday hurry of planning, shopping, decorating and hosting.

Ah, the joy.

And somewhere, tucked in beneath the wrappings and trappings, we hold on to the Christmas message of divine love for humanity: the reminder we are all one.

Yet, in all the merriment madness and good tidings gladness, I ask you to remember that this holiday season does not spark joy in every heart. And that’s okay.

You may not understand. You may even be frustrated by the apathy of others. You may want to fix it by bombarding them with holiday spirit. But here’s a gentle reminder: empathy and compassion is a gift you can offer that could actually save a life this holiday season. It costs you nothing, so be generous with that gift, and respect other people’s boundaries. Please.

Christmas messaging is everywhere. Sappy commercials and Hallmark movies (gag), holiday playlists on the radio in early November; it all makes me queasy. Oh, but I am thrilled to see the joyful return of small-town parades to escort Santa back into our hearts and imaginations. I miss that guy. This tradition puts me in the spirit of the season.

For some, though, the holidays bring anxiety, grief, loneliness and a feeling of failure that life hasn’t gone according to plan: that the marriage ended, and thus, the children suffered; or they lost a job, and now the budget won’t stretch. That there is no cure for an illness they’ve had no choice but to fight.

Others feel the weight of grief, reliving Christmases past with every decoration on that tree, knowing they cannot change a thing to heal in the present moment, except to breathe into the next one. Just keep breathing.

Some have walked away from the toxicity of those they loved, to figure out how to heal and love themselves. Accept that we don’t all want to break bread with people whose bloodline leaves us feeling flatlined. And we don’t all want to open the door to the skeletons in our closets and serve them turkey. Maybe it’s not safe to do so. Don’t be quick to judge.

These are situations you can’t understand until you have no choice but to understand them. Honour that.

After more than a year in pandemic pandemonium, not everyone is ready to gather because their anxiety hasn’t been vaccinated, even if they are. For those who could not or would not take the  vaccine, they feel the stigma that comes with that decision, even if they are grounded in the choice. So let people decide for themselves what’s right for them, and you do what’s in the best interest for you. And leave it there. It’s just one day.

For the holiday lovers, with your Christmas trees up, the lights shining outside, with the giant inflatable Santa on the lawn, thank you for helping me feel inspired to get into the holiday spirit. I love the enthusiasm. Truly.

Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to feel over the holidays, there is just your way. We are all one, even when we’re undone. Love. Humanity. Acceptance. And pretty lights.

This Christmas, may you feel peace in your heart.

WriteOut of Her Mind