The past was the past. Childhood was largely out of your control. Those holiday celebrations? Not of your creating. You were a pawn in a larger family game. And the pawn is forced to show up. If this notion is foreign to you, then I am happy for your childhood holiday experiences. If this notion is familiar to you, then I am here to remind you to take heart and take charge. You can re-write the script and change your holiday. You get to determine who you are with and who you are not with. You get to determine where you are, what you do, what you eat, and how to celebrate (or not). Allow me to illustrate….
Thanksgiving was awful when I was a kid, and I hated this holiday for a long time. We had to go to my alcoholic grandparents’ house. Where the tension between people was palpable and where more was unspoken than spoken. (This little empath spent the day sad and confused.) Their traditions included a catered in meal, a fancy table, and for us to be seen but not heard. If we were chastised and cried, my step-grandfather pulled out his “crying balloon” and made it whine while laughing at us. They tried to make us eat exactly what they served, but after I threw up in the water glass, I got a pass on that one.
As an adult, I ignored the holiday for a while. And then I decided to re-write it. With MY family – my husband and my children. I vowed to always cook a nice, simple meal to share at home. I vowed to let everyone relax and be comfortable for the day. I vowed to savor our time together. To be thankful. And that’s it. No big production. Short, simple and very sweet.
The hardest part was changing my feelings about the holiday. That is always the biggest hurdle for an empath. But it is doable. If you have a rattling ghost of bad holidays past, I encourage you to banish it and take away its power. You can create your own form of celebration however traditional or non-traditional you so choose.
As for future holidays to come, we can re-invent that too. Perhaps a destination holiday….hmmm….