This is a guest post by my dear friend Jill Shaw. Jill is a single missionary with many years experience living overseas from Zimbabwe to New Zealand. She obviously likes countries with ‘Z’ in them 🙂
The original post is here if you want to read more of her thoughts.
If you know Christmas is going to be difficult foryou this year, make a plan now to make it as survivable as possible.
You may not be able to get home, or you may have a broken relationship, or have lost a dear loved one, or just can’t cope with the hubbub of big groups. You may be in the dog box or have no money to do anything special or have kids who are celebrating with their other parent.
I remember sitting at an intersection in tears one Christmas, knowing I was welcome several places, but not feeling at home in any of them. It happens. Holidays are not always jolly-days.
You can find ways to cocoon yourself and ignore the whole thing, though that will mean little or no access to TV, internet or radio. One friend considered going to a country where Christmas wasn’t celebrated! You could get enough books or videos to last 2-3 days. Plan healthy snacks with a few special nibbles.
Another option might be to involve yourself in a project you enjoy and want to do
anyway.Get out those paints, that puzzle, book or toolbox . . . glue gun, sewing machine or model airplane. You have to plan ahead though. Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need so as not to add to your frustration on the day.
Again, you might choose to volunteer or brighten someone else’s day. You won’t be the only one struggling. Together you might end up in a better place, telling stories of happier times or sharing that chunk of chocolate instead of eating it all yourself.
What about doing some baking, or gathering some supplies ahead of time, and delivering parcels to those who are working to provide essential services? The police, fire services, medical and utilities staff would all probably rather be home instead of at work. Take them something that acknowledges their 24/7/365 type job. Offer the same generosity to the homeless or lonely in your community.
Are theatres or movie houses open near you? Go! Get some popcorn and ice cream and enjoy a film. Going to movies alone means you can see whatever you want and don’t have to share your snacks. Even go for a double-header!
What do you enjoy doing? What have you been wanting to do? Plan for that on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and whatever other tough times you anticipate. Take what control you can of the situation and focus not on what you’ve lost, but on what you enjoy.
I don’t mean to minimise your loss or discomfort, and make this sound easy. I’m just encouraging you to make it through these holidays as best you can. Planning ahead will make the day easier, if not easy.
Being nostalgic and imagining everyone else having a super time . . . well, those imaginings are not helpful, and those other families are very possibly getting on each other’s last nerve.
Grass is always greener . . . ? Most families are dysfunctional. Really.