It’s the happiest time of the year, and we are a company that delivers on happiness year ‘round.
But even we know it’s been an especially challenging year for just about everyone– some more than others. Whether dealing with the loss of loved ones (or several) the loss of employment or being especially affected by the distance from friends and family… this holiday season might not look like the ones in years passed.
We understand. Yes, even the happiness experts get sad sometimes. And this year? It’s been a doozy.
Celebrating the holidays at a distance doesn’t make things any easier, so we’ve put together a proven list of steps that are guaranteed to get you through what is expected to be a pretty different kind of holiday season.
Reduce the distance (and the blues) this holiday season with these sentimental tips:
Step 1: Acknowledge
Sometimes the best way to find happiness is to recognize the sadness. Don’t ignore it. Listen to it. Allow it. Let it flow and run its course. Sandra Marinella, author of the story you need to tell says that only by truly embracing what IS, can we begin to heal. She writes, “The power is in the stories you tell to encourage you to keep saying yes to life.”
Step 2: Accept
Don’t put on a happy face just yet.
A great way to move into the acceptance stage is to acknowledge that this year doesn’t look like all the others. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive when you are attempting to find the joy in the holiday season, but reflection is an important part of coping. Strength can only be built from vulnerability, so own it.
Write about it! Share your feelings with your long-distance peeps in a letter, or pen one to yourself. This year is just another chapter in your book. Confessing that you don’t feel yourself this year might give your loved ones permission to do the same. Being real is a relief. Dialogue is downright therapeutic.
Step 3: Grieve
Cry… a lot. It’s cathartic.
In fact, if you’re gonna do it, go full out. Have a proper sob fest. Take some time to do it alone, or with someone you feel safe with, but either way… don’t hold back. Bawl like a boss. While you’re at it, take in the real-life stories of others’ experiences. There is inspiration everywhere— even where you least expect it. Read about those who overcame some of the greatest hardships, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. Nelson Mandella said “The greatest glory in living lies not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Step 4: Strategize
Make a plan to heal, starting with being a giver to someone who needs you. There really is no better time to give than the holidays, so make a decision right now, to make someone’s day. No. Make their whole year better.
Conceptualize some truly meaningful long-distance gifts for family members who are in the military, a long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend, or even a family member who has moved out-of-state. Is there anyone who wouldn’t love a holiday care-package filled with different pieces of home? Include a favorite recipe or a treat that can only come from your hometown, a great piece of art from the house, a photo book or collage of the best holiday memories through the years, and even a mixed tape or playlist.
Include something that brings them the smell of home during the holidays, such as a candle or aroma therapy. Throw in some special decorations that remind them of family tradition, like an ornament that has been hung year after year on the family tree or a menorah heirloom.
For extra points, send them a ‘bad day’ emergency bag of goodies with instructions to “Open only in the direst situation.” Fill it with guilty pleasures, comfort foods, rarely seen funny pictures (we were saving this one for a true emergency…) handmade friendship bracelets, codes to stream funny videos, or a gift card to rent a classic holiday movie.
And for goodness sake, don’t forget the wine.
Step 5: Enjoy
We cannot convey the importance of this enough.
It’s time to let your hair down. Have fun. Now that you should be feeling a bit more cleansed, give yourself permission to find happiness amid a very difficult time. If you’ve followed steps 1-4 above, you should find it a lot easier to reach for those better feeling thoughts— and that is when you’ll be your most inventive and resourceful.
Don’t be surprised if you end up having a better holiday season than you imagined was even possible! Some of the most resilient people in history have found ways to celebrate during the worst of times– and those become the best stories that are passed down through generations of famine, holocaust, and slavery. Telling those family narratives will remind everyone to laugh, listen to (and make!!) music, and never stop being grateful for all the little things.
Even the toughest years have them, we guarantee it.