by Claudia McNeely, CCHt
copyright November 28, 2009

Are you one of those who has survived another horrid holiday with your family? Do you dread holidays because it means you have to spend time with people that you choose not to spend time with any other day of the year? If so, WHY??

Too many of us feel that we ‘have to’ spend holidays with our families. That we ‘ought to’. That we ’should’. They are family, after all.

There was a time that I felt this way.

Each holiday, I would invite my family to my house because Samantha couldn’t go to theirs. (For those who don’t know, Samantha was my daughter. She was critically ill her entire life and made her transition several years ago.)

Twenty people would invade my house on every holiday. I cooked most of the food while still taking care of Samantha’s intense needs. The children would tear my house to shreds, breaking toys and making a huge mess. After we had all eaten, everyone would depart, leaving me with a disaster to clean up.

After numerous years of doing this, I realized what an idiot I was! Why was I putting myself through this on every holiday? What was the purpose?

I made one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I stopped inviting my extended family over for holidays!

Holidays actually became pleasant times. I cooked only enough food for my own family. I took my time cooking, there was no need to hurry. If Samantha kept me up all night, I slept in and we ate later. It was peaceful with only the four of us. There was very little cleaning to do and no toys were broken. It was actually a relaxing day.

I have never regretted my decision.

In Samantha’s later years, we would invite her nurses, caregivers and their families over for the holidays. They were the people we enjoyed being with. They were our true family. They helped prepare the food and even cleaned everything up before they left. It was a joy to spend time with them.

We are born into our family or origin so that we can learn lessons from them. Our soul chooses the family that can most help us to grow and progress. Once we have learned the lessons we are with them to learn, it is no longer essential that we spend time with them. It is more important that we locate our Spiritual Family, the people who truly love us unconditionally, who we enjoy being with.

These days, if I don’t want to cook, we go out to eat. It is much easier to drive to a restaurant and order a meal. It may not taste as good, but it sure is nice.

Christmas is just around the corner. Make a decision to only spend time with people that you really enjoy being with from now on, people who make you feel wonderful and loved. Love yourself enough to be kind to yourself, to honor what feels good to you, to stop punishing yourself.

Give yourself the gift of peace for Christmas.

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