“The holidays are only holy if we make them so.”
For some of us, the holidays are something to celebrate. We revel in lights and music, the ballet dances the nutcracker, the symphony plays Handel's Messiah, our church choirs present cantatas and lessons and carols at candlelight services, we watch the Grinch steal Christmas, the Polar Express and It's a Wonderful Life for the 40th time, and drag out all the once-a-year board games and card decks. The gift-giving is always the highlight. Ritual events are expected; traditions, deeply planted, have to be replayed with some degree of exactness in order for the holiday to seem...well...holy.
For others of us, the holidays are to be gotten through as best we can. We are expected to act joyful and celebratory, but all we want is for them to pass without incident. We're anxious about being with family, about the state of the nation and the world, whether or not the gifts we are giving are sufficient, and on and on and on. This is not the season of joy, peace, and love, but the season of anxious endurance.
Whichever camp you fall into, or perhaps you are a mixture of both, here is what you can do: Make the holiday yours. Do what gives you cheer, what warms your heart, what lights up your spirit. The holidays are only holy, only joyful, only peaceful if we make them so, and we do that by creating our own rituals, our own traditions. You don't have to buy into the cultural norms, you don't have to act like you enjoy something you clearly don't enjoy. You can just smile and do your own thing. Wish everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, happy whatever, and then allow yourself to do what brings you joy. It is the joy within, the peace within, the love within, that makes any day holy.
In the Spirit,