Mind Matters — It’s That Time of Year Again

Welcome to the holiday season when we are inundated with sales and sentimentality. Thanksgiving, parties, parades, lights, Santa, Chanukah, Christmas, New Years. In my Catholic heritage, there is also January 6th, the “Epiphany”—the word meaning “sudden realization.” Maybe that feast gets short shrift because we can’t see or hear beyond the cacophony of the other holidays.

This time of year can be anxiety provoking for many. Family dissonance may be dampened in August only to loudly sound in December. The Brandywine Valley easily conjures the Currier and Ives image of happy families headed in horse and carriage to Grandma’s house for savory turkey and warm apple pie. However, there are other stories to be told. Families of divorce must work out the dilemmas of blended families: whose children will go where this year? Families that have not experienced divorce may still face family cutoffs. This can occur, for example, where adult siblings are at odds with each other, and so, not everyone can sit comfortably at grandma’s table.

Change inevitably occurs too when our children all of a sudden become married adults. Then there is a decision dance between the families of origin. Where will the grown kids go?

The most poignant holiday situations have to do with remembering loved ones who have died. Even though time can help change the relationship to these loved ones, it can never give closure to the grief.

Here are a few suggestions on how to enjoy the holidays: