It’s OK to Defy Tradition

So, with Halloween behind us, and the midterm elections mostly over, Thanksgiving is coming up fast. Maybe you’re absolutely not in the mood for it this year. It could be that you’re thinking about skipping Thanksgiving – or all the winter holidays – completely. Well, I can guarantee you that you wouldn’t be the first person to do that, and you won’t be the last.

Maybe politics and the economy have worn you down. Or it could be that colds, flu, RSV, and coronavirus (yes, it’s still a very real thing) have you dreading the necessary socializing. Maybe you don’t want to hear job and relationship questions or advice. It could be that you’re struggling with grief, and the thought of dealing with holidays is completely overwhelming.

Sometimes it feels like skipping some or all of the holidays is the best option. It may be that cutting back on them would be sufficient, but you’re the only one who can really decide that. The most important thing to remember is that It’s okay to skip the holidays. If you take a break from the holiday commotion, you know that not everybody will approve or agree with your decision. Guess what? They don’t have to. It’s your decision, and nobody has a right to make it for you.

Likewise, you can decide to celebrate the holidays differently this year if that’s what fits you the best and brings you the most peace.

  • Maybe you want to celebrate with just your children and/or a significant other.
  • Remember that it’s okay to spend the holiday in your own company.
  • Think about trying a new holiday menu. Tired of turkey and mashed potatoes? What about soup and lasagna, or your favorite take-out that you don’t get very often? Eat a meal that makes you happy, not one you buy or prepare out of routine.
  • It could be that appetizers and desserts with a couple of good friends would be a perfect clock celebration.
  • Snuggle on the couch with your pet and a good book, a funny movie, or some favorite music.
  • Consider making a couple of phone calls or zoom calls.
  • Spend some time on something you never seem to find time for.
  • Act now to volunteer at a mission, soup kitchen, shelter, or other organization needing helping hands.
  • Look through old pictures and label what needs labeling if you can. Smile at the good memories and if you need to shed a few tears, you can do that, too.
  • Create a vision board focused on anything that means something to you. Maybe you want to find a new job, a new relationship, new friends, hobbies, foods to try, a pet, or experiences to have … Whatever you can imagine, start to envision it in your life.
  • Are you going to send out holiday cards this year? Go through your address book or your contact list and see what you need to update.
  • Rent a movie you always wanted to watch or look for one for free. If you have Amazon prime, have you ever checked out their free movie selections?

Also, take a minute to realize that you can take a break from one holiday and celebrate others. It could be that this year you just don’t want to deal with Thanksgiving, but the holidays in December are ones you’re looking forward to. Again, you don’t have to justify your feelings. Of course, you might have to explain to people in your life what you decided to do. It wouldn’t be right to just not show up and not explain. The point is that you shouldn’t feel like you have to always do what you think you’re supposed to do and not what you want to do. I know that sometimes you do have to go along with things. We all do. But you don’t have to sacrifice your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health to please everyone else.

Life changes. Some of those changes are wonderful and some are tragic. That’s just the simple truth. So, too, can the way we handle holidays change. None of those changes are permanent.

How are you planning to spend Thanksgiving this year? Do you have any thoughts you like to share? Feel free to email me at, and you may just find yourself mentioned in next week’s newsletter.

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