Personally, I look forward to the holiday season every year. Growing up, I rarely saw a perfect Christmas, but the way the season transforms New Orleans will always be one of my favorite things. I will forever live for my Nana’s gumbo, which is most enjoyable when there’s a chill in the air, and it’s also one of the few times in the year that Louisiana feels like it has actual seasons. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the corny TV movies, but there is something about this time of year that traps me.
Being the child of a parent who works in retail, our holidays have rarely looked the same. Some years I would wake up throughout the night, anxious to see what was there in the morning, only to hear my mom still cooking and wrapping, knowing that I would be waking her up at the first sight of day, no matter what time she finished. There were some holidays where, to my disappointment, there would be no gifts to find in the morning. There would be some holidays that I would spend alone once I left for school, and some that I would be invited to spend with friends whose families clearly operated with a tradition that drew in cousins and other relatives.
Safe to say that my journey toward understanding how to keep myself moving toward self love and spiritual purpose has meant observing how we engage in the holiday season. What were the pitfalls that brought out anxiety in interactions with family members? What were the behaviors that elevated my own stress level and that of those around me? Basically, how do you manage all of the extra and still thrive during the holiday season?
These five tips are the best of what I have learned: