Family & Relationships - looking-at-photos-with-grandmaWhen my children were very young and I was at my wit’s end to find something everyone would enjoy for Christmas Eve dinner, I made lasagna.  Little did I know that that lasagna would become a Christmas Eve tradition lasting almost three decades.  Since then I have eaten Christmas Eve dinner at an elaborate buffet in Kyoto, Japan. I have spent Christmas with friends and alone with a favorite movie and a wonderful novel.  When one or more of my children comes home, lasagna is still the favored menu item, but long gone are the elaborate decorations and the dozens of homemade German Christmas cookies that my great Aunt Mamie taught me to make.

Families Change. We Change.

Our traditions need to change to fit who we are now.  Children move away and sometimes they marry and stay close.  Some of our special friends, even spouses or  parents are no longer with us.  We may be the caretakers of our parents or our children may now be our caretakers.  Holiday traditions must change to fit who we are now, not who we were then.  We may mourn traditions or rituals that no longer fit us, causing us to feel sad, angry or resentful of the upcoming holidays  We may find ourselves grieving what was instead of enjoying what is.


Tips for enjoying the Holidays NOW!


  • Don’t follow any tradition or ritual that you no longer enjoy.
  • Don’t follow traditions just to please others.
  • Don’t exhaust yourself cooking, cleaning, or trying to please others.
  • Don’t overspend your budget.
  • Don’t try to fix others or single-handedly mend family disputes.


  • Do plan ahead for time together so everyone knows what to expect.
  • Do consider your time, energy, health and stress level.
  • Do make heartfelt memories,  focus on activities that bring you closer together.
  • Do Skype with family or friends not present: technology can be wonderful.
  • Do plan activities: playing games, watching a Holiday Movie, looking at family pictures,  attending a Holiday       musical, play or other event together.


If you will be spending the Holiday alone:

  • Plan activities that you enjoy just for yourself,
  • Watch a favorite movie,
  • Read a novel you’ve been wanting to read,
  • Take time for a craft project or other activity just for you.
  • Enjoy some of your favorite food.

By planning ahead you can treat yourself to a wonderful day.  I know.  I‘ve done it and actually thoroughly enjoyed myself.   You can too.

If You Face the Holidays with Dread

Holidays can bring up unresolved family disputes or other concerns.  if this resonates with you, I recommend that you talk with me or someone who can support you.  You deserve to enjoy the Holidays – I know – I have helped many people change from dreading to enjoying the Holidays.

Make Marvelous Memories

May this be your best holiday season ever.  Remember: the best memories come from the heart and are made with love, laughter and caring. It’s okay for your holidays to fit who you are now.   This holiday season, start by being kind to yourself, enjoy every minute!  Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Amelia Barnes MBA MA LMHC inspires midlife women to create the next chapter of their lives with clarity, confidence and courage.  Contact Amy at 317.688.7278 or

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