Can you believe it’s November already? It feels like January ended last month, and yet here we are moving quickly into the 2018 holiday season.
As someone who doesn’t observe any winter holidays other than nodding slightly in the direction of the winter solstice since it means the days will soon be filled with more light, this might seem like a slightly unusual topic choice for me today.
I think there’s something to be said for being aware of the things I’m going to mention today regardless of what you do or don’t celebrate, though.
Trigger warning: while I won’t be going into any details, I will be briefly mentioning issues like abuse and grief in today’s post. (I will also be talking about much happier stuff as well!)
Why The Holidays Are Painful for Some People
To give just a few reasons why someone might find this time of year distressing, some (extended or nuclear) families are:
- Abusive or neglectful
- Grieving over the loss of one or more members
- Separated for financial, medical, career, legal, or political reasons
- No longer in existence
When someone is in this situation, it can be difficult to be surrounded by so many images of and references to happy, intact families between now and the end of the year.
In no way am I trying to discourage people who have never experienced this from sharing stories of visiting safe, appropriate, and living relatives.
It makes me happy to see all of the joy in their lives, but I’d also love to see more posts from people who have had to limit or end their relationship with certain relatives for safety reasons, who live far away from their loved ones, who don’t have families, or who will not be doing big familial celebrations for other reasons. These stories are important and need to be told if the bloggers involved in them are willing to share a basic overview of why the holidays aren’t a cheerful time for them.
On the other hand, not all families are comprised of folks who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. It is perfectly possible to choose to become a family with people you meet long after you’ve taken your first step or graduated from high school.
As someone who is trying to do this, it would be so interesting to read other people’s accounts of how they assembled theirs.
Navigating Health Problems During the Holidays
My various allergies can sometimes make attending certain functions tricky or even impossible. I’ll often eat before going to certain gatherings to make sure I’m not sitting there with a growling stomach and the inability to eat anything there due to North America’s tendency to toss milk products into so many festive foods.
If someone has a cat, I cannot enter their home for any reason. No, not even if they vacuum really well and banish the cat to their bedroom. It has nothing to do with my opinion of their cleaning skills or cat and everything to do with how difficult it is to get dander out of a couch well enough that I won’t react if I sit on it.
It would be so interesting to me to read other blogger’s stories about how they handled their own health problems or accommodated someone else’s medical needs during the holidays. I’m well-versed in allergies, but I know far less about how other health issues can affect someone’s ability to attend or enjoy an event. It would be helpful to hear what should or should not be done from people who are living with other conditions.
Traditions from Non-American Cultures
One of the coolest things about making friends with so many people who didn’t grow up in rural, (mostly) midwestern portions of United States has been getting to hear stories about all of the traditions that exist in other parts of the world.
Some holidays that are widely celebrated here in North America like Halloween are either totally unknown or barely observed in other places. Likewise, I’ve learned about all sorts of other celebrations that my family didn’t know anything about when I was growing up. These range from major holidays like Diwali to smaller, more regional ones like Saint Nicholas Day.
Creative Gift Ideas
I’d be especially interested in reading posts about gifts that are inexpensive and not a knick-knack.
Those of you who are good at buying, baking, making, or planning personalized, meaningful presents have my admiration. That isn’t an easy thing to do….or at least it’s not for me.
Honestly, the more posts that exist about this, the better. It can be written about for so many different ages and types of interests that the possibilities are truly endless.
Reflections on the Past and Future
What were the highlights of the past year for you? What do you wish had turned out differently? What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?
I know that some bloggers aren’t comfortable sharing such personal details of their own lives, and I respect that. If they’re willing to share, I adore getting these backstage peeks into other people’s lives.
Something I struggle with might be effortless for someone else, but they also might find it hard to do something that I’ve always found incredibly easy. There’s something reassuring about seeing examples of how this works while I hope that next year will be better for everyone no matter what this one was like for them.
What topics do you wish more people would blog about during the holiday season?
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