Embracing the Holiday Spirit After Loss

After the loss of my mother back in December of 2002, I lost my enthusiasm for the holiday spirit.  Growing up as a child, Christmas was one of my favorite holidays.  As an only child, I have fond memories of grand Christmases with beautifully decorated trees, presents, treats for Santa, and opening presents early on Christmas morning.  When I lost my mother at the age of 24, I was the mother of a 4-year-old child.  I went through a deep depression, and frankly I think that is when my bi-polar disorder reared its ugly head.  As a parent to a young child, I still had to hold it together and celebrate the holidays and maintain a sense of normalcy for his sake.  I must admit, I was relieved when he would spend the Christmas holiday with his father.  Christmas was difficult for me, but it was important to me that I give him the same special Christmases that I had as a child. 

As my son got older, less interested in Christmas and realized that Santa Claus was not real, my pseudo Christmas spirit waned off.  The holiday decorations become less and less to the point where there was no longer a Christmas tree or stockings.  There was always an exchange of presents, but the decorations and holiday spirt had faded away.

This year the holiday spirit came to me.  I did not decorate, but I was compelled to do things for others, which is what the holiday spirit is about to me.  I decided to send off Christmas cards to people who are in mental hospitals, and I also donated new winter coats to children in need.  These things made me feel so good. I got to focus on someone other than myself. I had a renewed sense of the holiday spirit. 

I made the decision rather late this year, that come next year, I am going to put the past behind me and embrace the holidays.  I can never forget the past and how it has shaped me, and helped me become the person that I have grown into.  Next year, I want to fully embrace the Christmas season complete with decorations and all the trimmings. 

I am very hopeful about my continuing road to recovery and what’s to come.  I look forward to all the new possibilities that awaits me.

Photo by Markus Spiske freeforcommercialuse.net from Pexels

7 Last Minute Holiday Shopping Tips

With the Christmas Holiday rapidly approaching, I decided to share a few tips for those who will be out this weekend with the packs of last minute holiday shoppers.  This blog post was inspired by my solo shopping trip at the mall this past weekend.  This is actually a list of things that I should have utilized myself.  This would have made my trip a lot less stressful and anxiety ridden. 

When I was younger, I could shop literally all-day long.  I mean from 10 am until the time that the stores closed.  I do not know if that was youth, or if it was simply undiagnosed mania.  I could go all day with little concern for food or nonsense like that.  That was then, and this is now.  If I do not have food, or some sort of snack in my bag, I get hangry. 

I decided that I would do some holiday shopping on Sunday since, I had gotten nothing done.  I had a mental list of what I wanted to get and who the gifts would be for.  I did know, that I wanted to arrive at the shopping center early to avoid the dreaded parking spot hunt.  This is one of my least favorite parts of going to the mall.  When I arrived, to my surprise there were several parking spots and I did not have to go on a manhunt. 

The whole experience lasted several hours, and when I left I was bogged down with many bags.  It was definitely an experience to forget.  

This experience gave me the idea to compile a list of 7 tips for last minute holiday gift shopping:

1. Make a list of who you are shopping for – Be Prepared with a list of all the gifts that you need to purchase.
2. Map out your trip – Strategically park your car near the entrance by the stores you need to go to.
3. Go with your friend – If shopping or being around large groups of people makes you uneasy, go with a friend.
4. Bring earplugs or headphones – These may be used if you have a noise sensitivity.
5. Give yourself a time limit – This will ensure that you do not spend too much time in one store.
6. Bring a snack – Have a snack handy in case your blood sugar drops.
7. Know your budget – Make sure that you know how much you will be spending before you get to the mall.

I hope that these tips will help you as you navigate your way through the crowds.  Happy Shopping!