Holiday survival guide


The Rev. Victoria Weinstein, aka Peace Bang offers a guide for church leaders during Advent and Christmas.

So the other day I get to the office and I say to our secretary, “Hey, I guess this is Nervous Breakdown Week,” because it had started. I think you know what “it” refers to: the slow tidal wave of holiday angst that starts rolling in at some point around Thanksgiving. ….

One thing that I have stopped struggling with, though, is that the holidays ARE a struggle.

You can’t win! In one corner, over-sensitive spinsters who love their life and who don’t want to be categorized as leftover or orphaned because we’ve chosen to live outside of the traditional family structure. In the other corner, people in traditional family structures who are hurting because family life is being messy and hellish for them, or maybe just freaking out because the expectations are too high this time of year and they don’t think they can manage the whole rigamarole.

With all this in mind, please accept with my love and sisterly solidarity with all the screwed up cookies of the world, PeaceBang’s Holiday Survival Guide:

1. Keep your expectations completely realistic.

Like, I don’t bake. I’m a really good cook and a terrible baker. Guess who’s not going to bake cookies for the holiday swap? ME. Guess who’s going to not feel guilty about that? ME.

Don’t try to do the stuff you’re not into doing.

2. Consider making the holidays actually religious.

3. If life has changed drastically, drastically change your holidays.

In the aftermath of a seismic life shift, we may cling to the hope that holiday traditions will anchor us with a sense of the unchanging nature of life. In my experience, this doesn’t work.

4. Consider skipping the cards.

5. Give gifts to the people and organizations that represent and support your heart’s desire for peace on earth, goodwill toward all.

Because it feels like a million bucks, even if what you give is ten bucks.

6. Make plans now to assure more well-being in the weeks ahead.

You might have tons of social obligations that make you sigh when you look at your calendar, or you might be looking at the weeks ahead and dreading loneliness and isolation. Honey, you’ve got to reach out. You’ve got to get some plans in place now so that (a) you have something to look forward to and (b) so you can start the new year feeling like you’re cared for and well, not exhausted, depleted, depressed and cripplingly lonesome.

Make HAPPY plans that help you feel supported and sane.

7. Pray.

However you do it, this is your key to holiday survival. Maybe it’s yoga. Maybe it’s walks in the woods. Maybe it’s sitting tucked in a comfy chair with your Bible and a candle burning. Maybe it’s meditation, following your breath in and out.

Read many more ideas and anecdoteshere.

My favorite – is “plan to meet friends for dinner after a Sunday evening worship somewhere ( you need to attend worship as well as lead it!)”

Do you have other ideas? Add your own strategies and stories in the comments. (Just be sure to sign your name!)

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