5 Tips to Feeling Lighthearted Over the Holidays For People Who Find Holidays Hard

(This is a Christmas centered article. Please substitute whatever ritualistic holiday/family gathering pertains to you. These ideas still work!)

Do you struggle with the holiday season?

I do.

I feel conflicted about the commercialism of Christmas.

And I don’t know how many times I’ve gone home for the holidays thinking, this year I’m going to be a zen master of unruffledness, only to find myself crying in the bathroom after three days.

Crying in the bathroom at ChristmasThen there were all those years when I was sick. (Chronic fatigue syndrome)

My dreams of starting a career, falling in love and learning to sail were dashed.

The nagging melody of disappointment I felt throughout the year became like a 7–part fugue played on a church organ at midnight mass telling me I was still failing.

Achievements this yearA further challenge of the holidays is the wall of noise telling us what our life should look like. But when our life looks nothing like the headlines it’s easy to feel inadequate.

  • “43 Things You Shouldn’t Do in Front Your Boss at Your Office Party“—Not so inspiring when you’re unable to work.
  • “5 Intriguing Ways to Deal With Family Members”—Not so intriguing when you’re alone.
  • “Have Yourself a Sexy Christmas with These Sexy Gifts—Not so sexy if your boyfriend dumped you and the only men you’ve spoken to in the past 18 months, aside from your father and doctor, is your 75 year old plumber. Who frankly, is looking pretty good.

If you struggle with the holiday season.

For whatever reason.

This article is my gift to you.

Couple at Christmas

If I could go back and sit on the end of my bed during those years when I was living in my parents basement, feeling dejected and dreaming of the life I thought had been taken from me, here are the five things I’d tell myself:

1. Do it how you want

When I was a kid Christmas was about Santa. It was about a pillow slip of presents on the end of our bed. Even when we were big enough to know better.

It was about ham and chocolate. Strawberries and ice-cream. Asparagus and new potato’s.

I thought my beliefs about the holidays mattered.

Christmas rulesThen there was a period when I celebrated solstice instead.

When I met my husband, Franco, I was still in my, “I’m not into Christmas phase.” But when I realized that he liked it, I was on board. No question.

Now I love it.

We string popcorn for the tree. We make ornaments out of photos. And Franco sings my favorite Christmas carol over and over.

ChristmastimeWe think we need to be consistent in our beliefs. And in our habits. But we don’t.

If the rituals of Christmas seem too painful this year, change it up. Take a road trip. Buy a dog. Rent a movie. Or a caravan at the Mokhihnui camping ground (2008).

Get creative.

Call family you haven’t seen in ages. Have a skype party. Hell, why not buy a plane ticket. And if all you really want to do is take the money you were going to spend on gifts for other people and buy yourself a ginormous treat, do that.

Relax. Do what makes sense to you.

It’s not as big a deal as you think.

2. Reality check

The holiday season amplifies life.

If we’re already feeling joyful and happy, “the holidays” can be fun. Buying a tree with your new husband, despite mad LA traffic and unholy queues, is wonderfully pleasant.

But when things aren’t peachy—financial troubles, relationship troubles, or just “jeez I feel miserable” troubles—the holidays can feel like getting your leg jammed between a pleasure cruiser and a jetty, only the captain is too out of it on eggnog and brandy to notice.

But here’s the thing.

degree of life2It’s not about trying to perk up.

It’s about understanding that we’re only disappointed because we think our life isn’t what it should be. As if we’re off schedule. But how do we know what it should be like? Why are we so sure that the imaginary life we’d like to have is the best?

The idea that there is a right track and a wrong track is something we’re taught in school. But life’s not that black and white. Sometimes it’s our fight to stay on “the right track” that causes so many of our problems.

I can’t tell you how hard I tried to be a successful career person. And when I couldn’t? I felt like a royal, embarrassing failure.

Achievement wallWhen I was sick my life seemed devoid of forward momentum.

But it wasn’t.

It was full of it!

Possibly more so than at any other time. It just didn’t look like I thought it would look like.

What spiritual learning looks like sometimes

Judging things by how they seem in this moment is pointless. We can’t see what’s ahead. We can’t see how this crappy time may hold a gift greater than we’d imagined. We can’t see how our seemingly lousy decisions provide a stage for great courage, compassion, love and learning.

We don’t realize that things are changing on the inside.

We simply can’t see the full picture.

Forget all the noise and the headlines. They’re not real anyway.

Hang on. The ride’s not over yet.

3. The holiday season is a spiritual teacher (but not how you think)

I suspect you like learning as much as I do.

Most of us are supremely motivated to feel better than we already do. Every year we spend billions of dollars on self-help material. Collectively speaking.

We tend to think the best way to achieve this is by doing something: by thinking positively; by not eating junk food; or by finally reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying to the end.

We tend to think spirituality is something happy, motivated people do to further themselves.

What we think spiritual growth looks like

The truth is, the biggest spiritual lessons happen when we’re not feeling very “sorted.”

And the truly awesome therapeutic beauty of the holidays—that most people forget—is that you can almost guarantee that at least half of the things that push your buttons will show up.

More icecreambigWe’ve all heard about the guy who spends 10 years meditating on a mountain.

It’s easy to think he’s doing real spiritual work. That he’s stronger than us. We’re only dealing with things like car maintenance, school timetables, making a wage packet stretch and designing this years Halloween costume.

But honestly. When I did my year of silence, it was hard initially. And there were tough moments for sure. But after a while, it’s easy.

Blissful even.

There’s no one asking, “And what do you do?” There’s no email from your mother telling you how amazing her friends children are and why can’t you be more like them.

There’s no Facebook.

No Twitter.

No Instagram

No Pinterest (which my sister tells me is not pronounced “pin interest.”)

FacebookIf the dude on the mountain is a hero. You are too!

He’s trying to detach from his thoughts and tap into his inner wisdom. But we’re trying too. Only, instead of sitting in a rock garden we’re waiting at the bank with a screaming two–year old.

When something happens that makes you annoyed—or like you want to shout, just give me the freaking ice-cream Twiggy—just notice those thoughts.

Notice those thoughts like the meditating monk does. Know that you’re only piqued because of your own insecurity. And let them wander on by.

Just as the monk is learning and growing, so are we.

Now, pat yourself on the back for signing up for another round of the most grass roots, down home, spiritual learning there is.

4. Try being successful at being flawed

Do you do that thing?

Where you tell yourself you’re going to waft about like a detached angel this year. You know, because you stopped eating gluten. And you did that course on self esteem.

But then before you know it you’ve snapped at your brother, made your mother cry and you’re elbow deep in trifle and lasagna.

(Trifle is an English dessert. It doesn’t look like much. But it’s one of the greatest inventions known to the dessert table.)

Visiting family on ChristmasWe’d all like to handle things in a loving way.

We know what the enlightened thing to do is.

Coping with Christmas like a championBut often we don’t do it.

In the moment, we fall to bits.

christmas dinner response 2Our insecurities have been trailing around after us for years. We think they’re part of us. We don’t know where we start and they begin.

But since they’re been with us for so long, is it reasonable to expect them to just vanish?

Poof!

Give yourself a breakIf you don’t always react how you’d like to, it’s perfectly fine and reasonable.

Within us lies an oasis of love and tranquility. Every time we remember to dig our awesome flawed selves, things start to shift on their own. We start to see more of this oasis. Even for fleeting moments.

We start to genuinely like ourself.

5. A simple trick to feeling more compassion

You’re trying your best, right?

You mess some stuff up, get other stuff right, but you always intend to do good.

As much as it doesn’t seem like it, everyone else is trying their best too.

Your father who “never listens” is trying his best. Your mother who for the love of god keeps commenting on your weight, is trying her best. Your cousin who always talks about how much his new house cost while you’re still saving for a cage for your hamster, is trying his best.

It’s easy to get caught up in our inner turmoil and forget this.

Next time you feel exasperated—while one half of your mind is saying what an idiot they are—see if you can see that they are trying their best too.

We all have a sack of vomity beliefs about how we’re not good enough.

We all just want to feel love.

Two people hugging

A parting holiday wish

If you’re having a particularly gnarly time—

High five yourself for being in the middle of your biggest spiritual challenge yet.

For the confusion.

For the holy smoke this is different to what I thought my life would be like.

For what’s around the corner that you can’t see.

For being a much treasured reader of this blog. And a fellow muddler in life, like so many of us.

A big holiday hug from me. And also from Franco—my team mate and friend—who is more part of this blog than may be apparent.

Christmas HugLisa (and Franco)

XX

PS: How are you? Do any of these ideas resonate? Are you feeling like the happiest person alive, or the saddest person alive or are you middling between merry as a postal worker and happy as the clown who makes balloon animals down at the mall? Are you alone, or with loved ones? Do you  “have plans?” Are you Christmas or Festivus? Where are you? What are you doing right now? Love to hear from you below.

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Comments

  1. I love reading your stuff – it’s always a huge pick me up. As life isn’t what I thought it would be I’m reminded that I don’t know what it’s supposed to be and I’m good with that – I’m learning and watching my vomity beliefs. LOL – Vomity beliefs – too funny!!! A huge Christmas hug to you LIsa. Thanks for being out there!

    • Thanks Phil! Yeah, I’ve got plenty of vomity beliefs too=) Best wishes to you and yours and thanks for saying hi!

    • Funny….I see I replied last year and wasn’t in the greatest of spots and this year is worse. There must be something awesome still coming around the corner. My ex wife and her new former fighter pilot/macho man is in town to meet my kids. Yay for me. My ex keeps saying “you should be happy for me” guess I’m not being a nice person if I’m not happy. I couldn’t be more sad, angry, alone and scared. Holding out that this is all gonna transform me. I am doing my best.

      Thanks Lisa…so glad you shared this again. I’ll be reading it again several times this year.

      • Hey, Phil,

        I just want to say, you are not alone. You have fellow sojourners in the fraternity of vomity believers.

        Christmas is not my best time of year. I aim to just get through it. Some years I have fun doing the Christmas thing, and other years I don’t and kind of ignore it.

        Just picture former fighter pilot/macho man vomiting all over himself and the wife. Now, doesn’t that feel better? We might think someone is so great just by outer appearances. Eventually we find out that person, former fighter pilot or Miss America, is just as vomity and stinky as the rest of us.

        Put up a force field between you and the ex and macho man. That works for me sometimes. I have been sad, angry, lonely, and scared many times. It never lasts forever. You just wait it out, and you will grow and learn from it.

        Hope you have a great “Let’s just get through it season.”

        Best wishes,

        Maria

      • My pleasure, Phil. Pleased it helps. And thanks so much for saying hi again:))

  2. Yep yep yep, great article

    I’m just trying to detach and remain zen like after quite possibly the worst week of my life, and it’s all first world crap that doesn’t really matter, but golly gosh it doesn’t half ‘hurt’ sometimes too.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Well, I reckon hurt is hurt is hurt. As in, it still hurts even when we think it’s not as “hurty” as other things. Peace and good wishes to you, and thanks so much for stopping by, Ant=)

  3. Hi Lisa

    I enjoy your articles too they are very down to earth, ‘normal’, dealing with many topics that i can relate to.

    Im spending my first Christmas on my own (not travelling back home across the country to my family)but will spend Xmas eve and Day with a friend and her family. I find this ‘family’ time of year hard as I dont have a family/partner and live on my own (with a cat!) in a new town where I dont have a lot of friends. Feeling the waves of loneliness and “inadequatesies” of being single at 41 and not having a shining happy little family life of my own like i thought i would (ie: comparing myself to others and stuck on how I think my life should be/how I wish it was). Ie: a whole novel of vomity beliefs!
    I was doing sorta ok up until this week as I had work to occupy my thoughts…..now Im on happy holidays with heaps of time to think/dwell/ ruminate. Ive been 8n a period of huge life change the last 2 years I gather this is the next stage of it learning to manage these times.

    • I can so relate, Julie. Life changing stuff can be lonely can’t it. Cool to think of you with your cat—aren’t they just the best company! Have a wonderful time with your friend and her family tomorrow. And best wishes for 2015=)

  4. Trying to deal with my first Christmas without my wonderful husband, this is really hard. Enjoy reading your tips.

  5. Sally Garfield says:

    Thanks for this Lisa. A great reminder to accept myself and others. Love your blog!

  6. I feel like the worlds sadest person

    I am single and I have no family

    I hate this time of year desperately

    • Hi E
      I felt the way you describe way too much this past year. Then my mother in law had a stroke and while helping her I listened to Jill Bolte-Taylor talk about her “stroke of insight” ( look her TED talk up on YouTube) and something shifted. I have begun to recognized more choice points and am deciding to take more chances and trusting that I will be okay. It is really scary but I already feel more hopeful.
      Remember things change constantly and we can change the stories we tell ourselves. It is such a mean habit we have of keeping our self esteem in the basement.
      Best wishes for your movement through,
      Iana
      PS Lisa , this post was so exactly what I needed to hear right now. Deepest thanks and a big fat hug.

      • Hi Iana, Isn’t Jill Bolte Taylor wonderful! I loved her book and YouTube video too. I sometimes think of it, and how she had to relearn virtually everything. Very inspiring. And she’s so warmhearted. Thanks so much for reminding me and sharing your story too!

        • The single most important teaching I received from listening to Jill Bolte Taylor is that the blissfull place she discovered from her stroke is always there and that finding it again involves making some choices that are different fro the ones I am habituated to. Something I would have found heinously abnoxious to be told at one time, but now I am ready to consider these kinds of choices. It will be interesting to see if I still feel this way when the next wave of depression is heading my way!
          Good Luck to All in finding some simple joy this week,
          Best,Iana

          • It’s a powerful book isn’t it. Your thoughts are making me want to re read it. The blissful place she found I peeked at when I was silent, not in such a complete way as she found it, but enough to convince me that beneath our thoughts, it’s all right there. Thanks for reminding me. Time to go and practice knowing it will all be OK! Intrigued by your journey! Merry Christmas to you!

    • Thanks so much for saying hi, E, and for sharing what’s happening for you. I hope there was something useful in this article=) Hugs and kind wishes to you. Love Lisa. XX

  7. Merry Christmas, Lisa. Thanks for yet another very relevant, well timed post! I’m sure it will help many who struggle with this time where, yes – all things good and bad seem to be under one big microscope! X

  8. Hang in there, E. Your words are raw with heartache and loneliness. I can’t change it. But I hear you. Thank you for speaking the truth. …One big hug coming your way.

  9. Struggling with my usual expectations of all the stuff I “should” do to make Christmas perfect for everyone, when the reality is, no one else really cares.

    But I do wish the furnace guy had “come right over” this morning, like he said he was going to. Now it’s 5:30 — no heat and no furnace guy. He’s not answering his phone, either. Maybe he’s dead. Fortunately I have a back-up heat source.

    Thank you for your steadying advice — all will be well!
    Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year to you!

    • I hope the furnace guy has showed up! “Struggling with trying to make things perfect for everyone”—something many will resonate with. Thanks so much for taking the time to say hi. I really do appreciate it. Merry Christmas to you too, Hali!

  10. Thanks for that Lisa, I am feeling like hiding at the moment, here with a grumpy husband and 2 teenagers! Not even wanting to speak to overseas family on Skype! But I suppose that’s ok, it is what it is, I am feeling like this and there’s no point in worrying about it.
    Maybe a walk on the beach tomorrow with my music will help as it always seems to.
    Happy Christmas and thanks to you and Franco for the post. X

  11. Lisa!

    This is such a lovely gift, thank you! I’m starting new traditions with new friends out here – warm Christmas is so odd and wonderful!

    Love and lots of eggnog,
    Dakota

    • I was thinking about you the other day, wondering how things were going. Hope you’re settling in and CA is being good to you. The warm Christmas has me scattered too – but in a different way. In New Zealand it’s summer – so it’s warm. But the days are long. Warm winter at Christmas is definitely new. But like you say – it’s odd and wonderful! Love and eggnog to you too!

      • Thanks for the great read, just got back from a family Christmas/Grandmother 90 birthday gathering after the holiday. There were group photos to boot, my man “couldn’t go because of work” and actually got a bad flu anyway. It felt like a show boat of The Crazy and Dysfunctionals vs. The Perfect Successes. I am part of the former side. Its pretty depressing to make the comparison. Aside from that I was curious about longer summer days in the southern hemisphere, and whether anyone thinks it might be more beneficial for people with the winter blues. I live in eastern Canada and find the dark and cold winter a huge factor in my holiday struggle.

        • I love your description of the Crazy and Dysfunctionals vs. The Perfect Successes. It reminds me of the Simpson’s episode, where the Simpson’s go to Homer’s work do – and as they’re driving up the drive they look over and see every other car is filled with angelic families, in contrast to Simpsons family mayhem. Ha ha. Always made me feel better!

          Someone else might be able to answer the winter blues question. From what I know it does have an impact. I’ve been struggling with depression/anxiety recently so maybe I’m one of them=) Has anyone tried one of those lamps?

  12. Prairigrl says:

    I am actually chronically ill, living in my parents basement. No joke. I’m single and my whole is on hold and stuck in that “this is not what life was supposed to be” pattern. Every Christmas is a reminder of time passing and still not getting anywhere nearer to a life you actually want to be leading. It also happens to highlight the best of everyone else’s life, via Holidays cards, newsletters and catching up with old friends/family. Ouch, right? However, you have to put on that smile and nod about how happy you are for them, on that promotion, engagement, new house and or baby. At the same time, you try to skirt away from filling people in on your life, because generally it makes people uncomfortable, they don’t know what to say and they would rather not have to hear anything “negative”. So, your left feeling lonely and lost, with nowhere to turn, but your own rumination and insomniatic comments on a blog that sounds like it just might understand. Anyway, that is that. Thanks for the post and the “listening” ear.

    • Oh boy do I ever understand. The feeling lonely and miserable, the uncomfortable conversations. “Um and what do you do?” —the sentence I used to dread more than any. I will never forgot it. Thanks so much for sharing. Lots of love, hugs and best wishes to you.

  13. I have ME so Christmas is a huge challenge anyway, how ill am I going to be sort of thing and I just dont want to let anyone down, this is my mantra, dont let anyone down, dont let anyone down, well I read your article and I am going to tidy the house then I am going to please myself for 2 whole days, if I am happy the kids will be too, love and hugs, have a great time.

  14. Me? Just sitting here at work-on the verge of tears. Christmas does that to me…or is it the winter blues? I’m contemplating on all the ideas I’ve had to make extra money. My books, coaching, guided meditation, hypnosis. My boss wouldn’t give me the raise I wanted. Hell, I’m working for an employment agency. The company I work for will not hire me on. I’ve done over and above my calling here. I’ve saved the company a lot of money.

    I’ll be leaving here early today. My oldest daughter is having Christmas dinner at her home. I have 3 daughers. My middle one wants nothing to do with the family. Haven’t seen her or my 2 grandbabies in 2 years. I’ll get to see Deano today. He’s my youngest grandbaby-4 months. I worry too much about my kids. Ok, now the tears are flowing. Hoping no one notices. There’s just 3 of us here today. Another girl in the office, me and the boss. The boss hasn’t opened his door yet. I hear the other girl sniffling in her cubicle. I know she’s not happy here either. I notice a tow truck pull into the company parking lot and turn around.

    Well the tears stopped though I still feel a little lump in my throat. I feel so confused on what I should do. I have so much to give and have given to others in the past. Maybe I just need to sort it all out and organize things concerning my books and my coaching.

    I guess I’ll get some filing done. Big sigh…

    • Sherrie, thanks so much for painting a picture. A friend told me something once, when I was having a rough time, she said, “just take it slow and easy.” And ever since I’ve always liked that. Maybe because I tend to be hard on myself. Anyway. With that in mind, wishing you a slow and easy Christmas!

  15. I’m 4 years post-divorce, 3 months post-hospitalization for Major depressive disorder and finally feeling well. Celebrating the holiday with a wonderfully supportive and dear friend who shares his family and grandchildren with me (we’re in our 60’s). I don’t know how long this feeling will last but I’m going to enjoy every moment it does and use it to build the foundation for a future.

    • Here’s to dear friends who share their families. And to you for emerging from what must have been a really challenging time. Lots of love and kind wishes for the holidays and the New Year. Thanks so much for saying hi!

  16. wow! you are one of the famous bloggers, inspirational teachers (in my book anyhow) who is not too big or too important to actually answer back to the comments on your blog and I dig that. I found you just yesterday as I googled my desperate seeking for answers to life unanswarables on the internet and I am so glad I did. This following paragraph is your gift to me and for that I THANK YOU!

    “Judging things by how they seem in this moment is pointless. We can’t see what’s ahead. We can’t see how this crappy time may hold a gift greater than we’d imagined. We can’t see how our seemingly lousy decisions provide a stage for great courage, compassion, love and learning. We don’t realize that things are changing on the inside. We simply can’t see the full picture. Forget all the noise and the headlines. They’re not real anyway. Hang on. The ride’s not over yet.”

    Also how on point to my life some of your comments seem to be feels spooky, they’re so on point. How I can mirror almost exactly the misery of your miserable gut wrenching past and have still not come out on the other side,like you have; but it is people like you that make me believe that there is a transformation happening, a Spiritual boot camp if you will.
    This morning I made my new year’s resolution, (my gift to me) to fully accept that what I banked on 10 years ago did not work. I started a job with only one belief “hard work pays off” and I poured my entire self into it, gave it all and continue giving it all…and guess what? it has not paid off, I just got more work and I’m still counting pennies and living paycheck to paycheck and all I have done is gotten a pocket full of resentments…I have to accept my plan did not work how I thought it should work, I have to accept that, I have to let go of resentments, I have to own it all and accept, accept, accept it all.

    thank you for the gift that it is you and thank you for having the courage to make it through the tough times, it serves as an inspiration to people like me

    Cheers!
    T

    • Thanks for stopping by T, and for taking the time to write=) And you know, I love answering comments. It’s a great pleasure actually. Each article takes me weeks to do. Sitting here alone. And I try really hard to write in a way that might be helpful. To connect with people like yourself, is actually what it’s all about for me. So, thank you for taking part in this odd little blog of mine. And best wishes for the coming year!

    • “Spiritual boot camp”! Boy, ain’t that the truth — still don’t know whether or not I’m going to end up a good little soldier or just wash out. In the meantime, wishing you all a new year of hope, peace, and great beginnings.

  17. I am about to work a shift for Christmas Eve. I am sitting on my new “desk chair bouncy ball”; it is purple and doesn’t go with the office, but the cool black ones were not my size. There is not one single cloud in the New Mexico Christmas Eve midday sky and everything looks HD. We will stroll the luminarias tonight west of downtown with some friends and have some eggnog. I put a dash of cinnamon in my morning brew from Thanksgiving through New Years Day every year. I wish I was visiting family for the holidays this year.
    I am going to share your post. Thank you, Lisa! And have a spiritually nutritious holiday! <3

  18. Hello Lisa

    Thanks so much for the blog. One of the great things about 2014 was finding it. It’s about 15 minutes to Christmas Day in England. Merry Christmas!

    Kate xx

  19. Hi Lisa!
    Thanks for this post, right on time!
    I love Christmas and I am so thankful that I had a wonderful Christmas with family that I love and that I had not seen in a long time! It seemed like a bit of light, freedom and easiness, in a moment that my life is totally off track, according to my views 😉 but maybe I am wrong, like you said! Thanks for helping me appreciate this precious moment even more!
    Happy Holidays to you, your husband, and your loved ones!

  20. Merry Christmas Lisa!

    Thanks for your wisdom. Many of your humorous points resonate in a comforting way. I’m having a lovely holiday and I think it is largely in part to my acceptance of how things are. Sure, I’d love more of this and less of that, but we have what we have. I’m damn grateful for what is.

    Feliz Navidad to you and Franco!

    xo

    Michael

  21. Hi Lisa,

    As many have said, right on time. Your posts gets to a lot of people, in all sorts of emotional places.

    It’s really funny, because at first I just thought this was just a lot of “hooey” (I’m not sure what it means, but sounds nice), I mean, I read your posts, but you didn’t win me over right away. And even though I started getting your mails because I suscribed so I could get your book (so many annoying people do that, and then just want to sell you what they have “found out”, not you, you just give your heart out, not a promise in change for money), I read them (I didn’t read the book though, not right away) and felt, at the same time, that it was true and that it was not really a big deal, what you said (hadn’t won me over, see?). But little by little, it seems you write when I most need it; I don’t know I need it, I feel quite “fine”, with little problems, here and there (mostly me thinking I’m not moving, I’m not doing where I’m supposed to). So thank you, because you are a light in my path, that reminds me where to walk to, that reminds me that the compassion I seek to show to others, I have to show myself (aha! That’s why it’s so hard!).

    Maybe you’re not saying something I didn’t know. We all have that inside of us. We just forget. So thank you, for reminding us.

    Bis hugs to you and Franco!

    P.S. And now, my heart responds when I read your posts. A connection has been formed, I think. I believe you treasure those connections, they’re the reason for what you do. That’s why, after all this time, I have started writing to you. I could be silently thankful, but I feel that for every person that writes to you.. I feel it’s like giving back. Telling you how you have helped me.. Well, maybe I’m trying to describe to you something that is better said as Thank You. And please keep writing. You always seem to know when. 🙂

    Fruitful holidays!

    Sofia.

    • HI Sofia,
      Gosh, I so love hearing you describe how you didn’t like my stuff at first but now you do. Thank you so much for sharing. And you’re right. Hearing from people like yourself is really wonderful for me. And you have such a wonderful way with words, too. Thank you. Big hugs and holiday love to you too!

  22. Thank you for recounting your poignant experiences and for your affecting and touching illustrations, that feel like lip balm on my heart and mind . Softness is a wonderful thing. xx

    • My pleasure, Jennifer=) Thank YOU for that lovely metaphor … “lip balm on my heart and mind.” As someone who has dry skin, I especially love it. And yeah, isn’t softness just the best.

  23. Jerrica says:

    I love reading your articles, especially this one because I’ve been feeling gloomy about the holidays and your article made me feel better. Thank you so much Lisa!

  24. Candice says:

    Hi Lisa! Love your blogs – Thank you so much for sharing! I love the part about family because I know for me that is the one thing I struggle with the most in life. But remembering that they try too is a good reminder… Hope your holidays and New Years were are fabulous!

    • Thanks Candice=) It’s been a lazy, mooch about holidays so far. Chilling. Relaxing. Painting. Hope you’ve had a good one too! And thanks for saying hi!

  25. Hi Lisa, Thanks for being here! It’s amazing to me how so many of us feel this way during the holidays. I am a product of the “Father knows best” generation so that should clue you in on my mindset! Living in upstate NY..the Prozac capital of the nation because the sun is seldom out especially in the winter. I am getting really tired of being a Debbie Downer especially when I should be grateful for having a great husband of 47 years & 3 adult loving kids & 6 healthy grandkids. Christmas was fine but now it’s a bust! I am bored stiff and I know at my age I should just relax and not feel that I have to be busy all the time. Any thoughts on how I should just learn to chill out and not want to punch the weatherman in the face?

    • Hi Trish! Hmm. Let’s see. Not really. Sorry! Have you tried one of those lamps? What I really want to chat about is your 47–year marriage. Congratulations by the way. I’ve been thinking of doing an article on successful marriage. Asking people for one thing they recommend. Not sure if you’ll see this comment now, as its more than a week after you wrote. But do you have any tips?

  26. I love reading your words and seeing your drawings. They are so honest, light, and fun about things that are usually painful and heavy. I’m so glad that I was introduced to your blog. I live near Valencia, so we are neighbors! I like knowing that you are just around the corner (along with the other millions that live in LA, but some how it makes me feel a little more connected.) God bless you and your family.

  27. You couldn’t have timed that better! My in-laws, who are my greatest spiritual challenge yet when it comes to actually feeling good about myself, are about to arrive for two weeks. Man did I ever need to read that.
    I totally relate to the not doing Christmas and being wracked with guilt for years and now I have a five year old and embrace all the madness with gusto, hell we even put up outside lights this year! This was exactly the reminder I needed that I don’t need to justify my every choice and it’s ok to sometimes just live and enjoy it all without guilt. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!

    And a very happy christmas to you!

    • Thank you!

      I love hearing about your embracing Christmas and that you even put lights up! Isn’t it so cool to change our minds and be fine with it. Happy Christmas to you too!!

  28. As always, Lisa, you are spot on. Thank you!

  29. Jann Stauffacher says:

    Season greetings, Lisa,

    As you usually do you have struck a cord.

    You have an exquisite way of illuminating the path for the weary travelers of this life of ours.

    Bless you real good for all you are and for sharing your wisdom with us. What a gift we get to enjoy. A Christmas and all year miracle…!

    Much love, peace and warm hugs coming to you!

    Jann xx

  30. Picture this scenario! Little miss muddled up me trying to clean the house and cook Christmas lunch and answer the phone and tell hubby what needs doing and then my daughter turns up an hour early with my 3 gorgeous grandsons,2 of which are bouncing around my kitchen grabbing anything that looks like food and in the midst of all this l realise l’ve forgotten to put the roast potatoes in the oven! My brain fog is thick as soup today ( chronic fatigue syndrome ) so really can’t l just grab the chocolate santas and just GO TO BED? Thanks for being there Elise and l love your blog! Cheers?

    • Thanks Jules,
      Hope you had a good day. Sounds warm and full of love and family, if not cooked potatoes:)
      Cheers, to you too. And thanks for being here. It is soo appreciated.

  31. I mean Lisa! See what l mean ? ( brain fog ) ?

  32. As always…..thank you Lisa (and Franco). Great article!!! 🙂

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