Tag Archives: Family

Avoiding the Holiday Hangover

Holiday Hangover

Now before you get too far into this post…this has nothing to do with the typical alcohol-induced hangover.  So if you are hoping for a magic cure-all for that I am afraid I have bad news for you…the cure is don’t drink so much!! 

No, I am referring to that feeling you get after the holidays are over.  We spend a month (or more for some) building up to the holidays…planning and cooking and baking and shopping and wrapping and decorating and gathering together…etc.  And before long the day has come and it is Christmas Eve (or insert whatever holiday you and yours celebrate…yes, I am quite aware that everybody doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but in my house we do).  Tomorrow is the big day…Christmas Day!  Santa comes tonight!!  We have cookies and hot cocoa to put out tonight, reindeer food to sprinkle on the yard and the kids have one gift (Christmas jammies!) to open tonight from mom and dad.  My husband and I started the Minivan Express tradition last year so that will happen tonight as well!  (I will write more on that in a future post).

And then tomorrow morning arrives and the kids excitedly wake up and run into our room and bounce on the bed anxious to open their presents!  We all get up and mommy stays up in the bedroom with the kiddos (trying to make myself somewhat presentable for pictures/video)  while daddy goes down to see what surprises Santa has left for us (and to get the camera!).  Then daddy has us all come down the stairs to the Christmas morning goodies that await us!  After the flying wrapping paper and the excited squeals of the kids we all get showered and dressed and eat some breakfast before family arrives.

Family arrives and we eat, drink and be merry sharing the company of one another and stories of memories of Christmas past.  We exchange gifts and thanks and play some games and eat some more and then one by one people start to head home.  Soon everybody is gone and it is time for bed.  The kiddos get a bath and a bedtime story and then tucked into bed.  Mom and dad finish cleaning up the remains of the celebration and collapse on the couch together in exhaustion.

And then it is the day after Christmas.  The decorations are still up, but the anticipation of the approaching holiday is gone.  We know we will have to take down the decorations soon (ugh) and get them all packed away for another year (double ugh).  No more Christmas songs on the radio, no more twinkling lights and soothing tree by the fireplace.  No more Christmas specials on tv or cheesy Christmas Hallmark or Lifetime movies (those are my favorite!!).  No more Christmas baking or gift exchanges with coworkers, friends and family.  It is all just done.

That is the holiday hangover.

So to avoid that sinking feeling, here is what you do…look ahead.  Yep, that is it!  Look ahead.
Look ahead to the next thing…plan your New Year’s celebrations, gather with family and friends to celebrate the New Year and take a moment to reflect on the year behind and set goals for the year ahead.
Look ahead to Valentine’s Day and show those around you how much they mean to you.
Plan an End of Winter Celebration to say so long to the cold and snow and hello (and hurry and get here) to the warmth and new life of spring!

Find any excuse to celebrate life and surround yourself with those you love.   Decorate when you want (I am still trying to convince my husband to leave the tree up all year long and decorate it for each season/holiday!!), gather when you want, bake when you want, party when you want!  Make everyday a holiday!!  Life is short…make every second count!  One of my very favorite quotes is “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”  Create breath-taking moments!

A very Merry Christmas to you all and Happy Holidays to everybody that celebrates the many other holidays this time of year!

Christmas Tree

A special moment…

Last Friday evening my family and I were blessed greatly to witness and share in a very special moment between my youngest son Liam and my paternal grandfather.

Now to understand this moment a little better, I am going to share a little back-story information with you first.
In mid-December of 2011, my grandfather was in a car accident which broke his neck and landed him in the hospital with a trach and on a ventilator.  He has been in the hospital and/or long-term care ever since with limited mobility/function in his arms and he is still on the ventilator.
Last Tuesday he was transitioned from traditional medical care to hospice care.  After being in this situation for over a year, his body is beginning to shut down and he has decided that fighting so hard is becoming increasingly difficult.  Sadly, the plan now is to just keep him comfortable and let nature take its course.

So, my parents, brother, sister, husband, our youngest son Liam and I all went to my grandfather’s long-term care facility Friday night for a visit and to essentially say “good-bye” to him.  My grandmother (his wife) is currently in the same long-term care facility with health problems of her own.  She was excited to see us all and joined us in my grandfather’s room for our visit along with one of my uncle’s and aunt who were there eating dinner with my grandmother.

Liam was sleeping in his carseat when we arrived and about 10 minutes in to our visit began to awake and stir.  So I removed him from the carseat and took him over to my grandfather’s bedside to introduce him to his newest great-grandchild.  My grandfather’s face lit up and he even had the slightest hint of a smile on his face!  He reached up and grabbed Liam’s little hand and the two of them sat and stared smiling back and forth at each other for several minutes.  It was like they were in their own little world.  Neither could speak, but they communicated with each other just fine.  I may be mistaken, but I think I even saw a tear form in my grandfather’s eye. 

I saw one man coming toward the end of his time here on earth reflecting on all that he has accomplished and another little man just beginning his journey with endless opportunities and possiblities ahead of him.  And then it dawned on me…one of my grandfather’s accomplishments was my son, his newest great grandchild…for from my grandfather and grandmother came my father and from my father and mother came me and from my husband and me came this sweet baby.  Without my grandfather none of it would have been possible.

To me personally, that moment was a painful yet beautiful reminder that with every end comes a new beginning.
So the next time you are grieving an end…remember to also celebrate the new beginnings, whatever they may be.

To my grandfather:
I love you and will miss you.  You have taught me incredible determination and perseverance watching you fight through this journey for the last 13 months.  I promise you will live on through the memories, stories and pictures I share with my children about you.