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Health & Wellness > Health & Wellness 4 > HW 34

Surviving & Enjoying the Holiday Season!

By: Jo-Ann Thibault

For those of us who celebrate this holiday season, why is it, that during such a joyous time, most of us are stressed?  The countdown to Christmas begins after Thanksgiving.  The thought of holiday gatherings for Hanukkah, Christmas and other holiday celebrations push us into a panic. 

Everyone is in overdrive!  We can’t get anything done quickly enough!  A stop to the grocery store is an event!  People to see, places to go, meals to make, gifts to buy!

What should be a celebration of tradition, religion, giving and thanks – can be easily missed through the endless rush of most.

Let us all STOP.  Stop for just a moment, and take a deep breath.

Here are a few things that I think of during the holiday season.


  • Acceptance of the rush, acceptance that the grocery store is packed, and the lines are longer when purchasing your gifts. Acceptance of the stress that may surround you, acceptance of those around you may not be enjoying the season, for whatever their reason may be. Acceptance of celebrations with those we may not care to be around (cousin Eddy). Acceptance of the fact that we have loved ones that may not be with us any longer. Acceptance.

Lend a helping hand:

  • What can I do to help alleviate the stress of others? Offer to help. What can I bring over to dinner to help lessen the stress of the host/hostess? 

Remembering why we celebrate:

  • Whatever your reason for celebration, that should be first and foremost at the top of your thoughts. Celebrations should not be a burden.  Celebrations should not be stressful. Celebrations should be joyous! 

Perception, NOT Perfection:

  • The saying “it’s the thought that counts” is so very true.  I am a terrible wrapper!  The recipients of my gift giving’s are not judging my gift on the way it is wrapped!  (I hope not!)  Love comes through the giving process … not the wrapping process.  The same with holiday decorations, meal prep, etc.  As a host/hostess, you should not be concerned about the “perfection” of your event, only about the “perception” of your event.  Which should be of love, joy and celebration.


  • And last but not least, the CELEBRATION itself!  Let us not forget the meaning of celebrating the holiday season.  Whether it be the gathering of friends and family, and/or religious observance, never forget the true purpose of the season. 

  • For those of us that have lost loved ones, and are mourning their absence during this celebratory time – reflect on the memories of past holidays, and I hope that will bring you comfort and a smile for the ones you miss.

On a personal note:

With my family, gift giving is not a priority any longer.  Many of us make hand-made gifts, pastries, fudge, or donate to a favorite charity.  My parents and in-laws want nothing more than to be with their children and grandchildren.  Gather around the food table and share stories of past and present.  Talk about those we have lost, and smile remembering times past with them. Hug, love and laugh! 

Whatever your holiday celebration is… throw the stress out the door and celebrate as this season is meant to be celebrated!

Be Well, Be Healthy, Be Happy!

Happy Holidays!


Jo-Ann Thibault


The Elder Insider