By Kathleen Quinn Votaw
We’re doing the holidays differently this year.
This is undoubtedly the most wonderful—and most challenging—time of the year, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply enjoying the lights, music in the air, and festivities of the holidays. People of all faiths, or no faith, take this time to share love and traditions with family and friends. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on the past and think about what’s coming next. In the aftermath of 2020, our reflections take on new meaning and importance.
None of us has the gift, the promise, of tomorrow. We have only the gift of today. At the end of this particularly difficult year, how do we appreciate this moment in our lives? And especially, how do we create joy in the midst of so many restrictions and such uncertainty?
Like millions of other people, I’m a cancer survivor. I’ve been on that ledge and know what the gift of the moment means. 2020 has created that same scary feeling for people all over the world. No matter what, please don’t let the spirit of the holidays get away from you. We’re all fatigued, and what we need right now is to find the joy in this special season and feel it deeply. Reflect on the major challenges you’ve faced and overcome this past year, take pride in your strength, and move into 2021 with hope and joy.
Keep in mind that no one can cancel your holidays or allow the current circumstances to pause the pleasure of living your life. Unless you let them, or unless you are controlled by fear. Now is the time to think about new ways to celebrate the present moment. Consider dusting off old traditions and creating a few new ones that bring joy to you in this crazy year, and maybe even carry them into future celebrations.
There’s a special moment every year where the spirit of Christmas fills me with joy. This year was no exception. That moment touched my heart on December 5th as I ventured out to shop for gifts in my favorite local store. My joy at running into friends, and theirs in seeing me, wasn’t a bit obscured by our masks or physical distancing. It felt so good, so normal, to be outside shuffling through the snow, feeling the winter cold, and choosing presents for loved ones and friends. The highlight of the day was seeing Santa in the mall. Yes, he’s still out there, spreading joy everywhere. Some traditions will last forever...
The Quinn Family Christmas will be different this year. We’ll be adapting and innovating yet cherishing every moment of it. My hope is that the spirit of the moment will fill your holiday as well.