The last few years I have written three installments of, There’s No Place Like Hell for the Holidays.  As I was considering writing part four I thought, these posts are about having more harmonious holidays … why am I starting out in hell?

Every time I write these posts I get that song stuck in my head, familiar to most in the US at least, There’s no place like home for the holidays, ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam, When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.

Well, when you’re pining for that sunshine of a friendly gaze … sometimes you can beat home sweet home.  My point:  we often have expectations and conditioned beliefs about the holidays, and how we should celebrate them, that no longer serve us.

I used to travel out to Western Massachusetts every Christmas to be with my folks, my brother, sister-in-law, and niece and nephew.  The time on Christmas day we spent together was always wonderful, but there was the stress of travel and often somewhat uncomfortable dynamics of staying at my parent’s house for several days.  But I never considered doing anything different—this is what we do.

When my mom died suddenly in the month of September many years ago, I could not imagine how we would get through Christmas.  I was sick over it.  How could Christmas ever happen without my mom there.  It won’t be the same.

Well, it wasn’t exactly the same, but it was similar as I just picked up most everything my mom used to do.  So, despite missing her terribly we kept up our tradition—seemed like we had to.

We kept it up through my dad being sick for years, adjusting as necessary.

But what I didn’t realize through all the years of my family holiday tradition—I had a choice.  I had a choice as to whether I would participate or not, and once I made that decision I had a second choice—how I would react to the circumstances I was participating in.

The last couple of years when my dad was quite sick I would not have missed spending Christmas with him.  I perceived that it was meaningful to him, and it was definitely meaningful to me.  But I let myself get stressed and sad about it.  Now I realize I could have chosen a more peaceful reaction, as nobody was forcing me to go—I made the choice.  I was only fighting against myself.

And as for other years, instead of feeling like I had to go lest I disappoint someone, I could have chosen something different if it was in the best interest of me being peaceful during the holidays.

So, consider the title of this post—There’s No Place Like What? for the Holidays.  Where and with whom do you truly want to be spending your time this season?  And if there is an obligation that would not be prudent to skip, can you make the choice to have a joyful reaction to it, no matter how you used to feel?

It’s a tall order I know, but if we want to feel the energy of joy and peace on this planet, we have to find it within ourselves first.

Give it some thought—leave your conditioning behind and simply ask yourself, how do I want to feel this holiday season?  And then choose from there.

For me, there’s no place like Mexico for the holidays … well at least to ring in the new year!  What best serves you this holiday season?  Leave a comment below.

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Gwen is a Reiki Master and Emotional Balance Practitioner, Certified Holistic Health Educator, author, blogger, and green juice connoisseur who is passionate about supporting others to lead more peaceful and joyful lives, with a special focus on helping women release the cycle of chronic dieting and make peace with food and body. Gwen lives in Newburyport, MA where she writes about how everyday events can lead to transformation if we only pay attention.

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