Holiday Survival Guide!

Updated: November 22, 2017

Holiday Survival Guide

So last week I wrote about the holiday stuff coming too early but now it’s time for Thanksgiving in the USA and the SuperBowl of shopping called Black Friday ( not sure if this is everywhere?) and well we are indeed getting all ready for Christmas, Hanukkah, and all the other holidays I don’t know the names of ( nor is it important to the blog- just wanted to be inclusive)

OK! So tis the season to be grateful! Yes we should be grateful all year long but now particularly we need to be grateful since so many of us are going to be facing an avalanche of social things and likely at least one visit to the family table where you might have zip nada in common with most of ‘em.

If you’re fortunate and have no drama during the holidays that is one big fat thing to be grateful for.

That would mean that you assigned a meaning to the holidays and to the interactions that focused your mind and heart on good things, open and honest communication, delicious food, plenty, compassion, kindness and the spirit of giving, and understanding.

Somehow I see the holidays a bit like Let’s Make a Deal, where just behind the door that you choose is a true reflection of the experience  that is meant for you depending on your life experience, expectations and mindset..

It could mean that it may always have been this way- glorious connected and happy- so you picked door #1 and found that Leave it to Beaver and the Brady Bunch was a true reflection of your family. Or, you picked door #2 – and your prize is knowing  that you worked hard to keep a mindset that projected a positive heart- opening concept on this time of year. Or, you choose door #3 when the stress and trauma of a fragmented family with so many assigned meanings and judgments causes you to have anxiety days even before you leave the house. Oh and you ate the whole pie you baked in the closet when no one was looking so you had to go replace it with store bought.

Now, likely we are a little bit of everything behind those doors. It really doesn’t matter where we come from, happy and together or fragmented and wounded, it’s how we choose to view the world and the meaning we assign the experience of it now, not, in some cases like before.

Human beings are storytellers and meaning makers.

I loved the holidays when I was little but then later on it unravelled when my family lost everything and alcoholism took away the joy although we sure tried hard to manufacture it. Joy was elusive, gratitude replaced with bitterness and we lost perspective swimming in the fear that took up residence and never left until my mom got brain cancer and Dad got dementia and has a series of strokes. After they died I was in my early thirties, sober and scared and alone as I was estranged from my relatives etc. I could not wait until the holidays were over. I hated everything about them- in my mind it was fake happiness, consumerism and getting together forcibly to overeat and pretend to be thrilled.

A couple years later I started volunteering at a soup kitchen, then at sober dinners to feed the homeless that began before the holidays, and then on Christmas day and I was soaked in joy and gratitude, humility and the true spirit of giving, and all the good came back. When I met my husband he brought the child like quality back too and now I am kookoo for cocoa puffs nutty about putting up a tree way too early and refusing to take it down until mid January.

I assigned a new meaning to this time of year. I learned to look at people without judgment, seeing them all as if for the first time. That alone is a miraculous decision.

So if you are feeling anxious about this time of year, and especially connecting with people you feel unsafe with, or uncomfortable with, how about deciding to see them 100% judgment free, allowing them to be them. Live and let live and go with curiosity. Make new meaning this season. Let people surprise you, let go your expectations and set your boundaries ahead of time but maybe not so rigidly.

Be easy on yourself and others.

Ask yourself “ How important is this?” “ Do I really need to be right?” “ What am I making this mean?”

Let go the need to get it 100% right.

Give peace a chance.

Give gratitude a shot.

You will thrive in it… not just survive it.  


Love always


Showing 26 comments
  • Nancy Hadsall

    This is excellent! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

  • Lindsey

    Love this Colette! Yes, peace starts with me, my thoughts, my words( or no words) and my actions. “What would love do” has been one of my mantras lately and to be more lighthearted especially with family. Thankyou for your blog💕✨

  • Susan Retief

    Thank you, you are an inspiration!

  • terry

    thank you Colette…I am taking it easy…no family this year..whew..less drama! love to you and your family

  • Debbie

    Sounds like a nice Holiday to me. Thank You & Blessings !

  • Manuela

    that is a beautiful reminder, to see someone as new. thank you!

  • Lorna Pinder

    Have an amazrballs Thanksgiving Colette 🦋💜🦋💜🦋💜

  • Kathy

    Thank you from my heart Collette.

  • Julie

    Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christimas! Thank you for your blog and weekly video!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much Colette! How really helpful this is.
    Will make time with ‘the family’ so much easier…
    Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!!!

  • Tricia

    Thank you So Much Colette!!
    This message is So Helpful…
    Will make spending time with ‘the family’ easier these holidays.
    Much love and blessed times to you and your loved ones!!!

  • Debbie Scheriff

    Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving

  • Elisa

    PHew ty HP for having Colette post this and for my stopping in to read it at just the right moment. I am not feeling able to do this, however it looks attractive. Please help me to live this, if that is what you have in store for me.

  • Shelly

    Happy Thanksgiving, Thankyou

  • colette

    Thank you so much for the blog and the reading Colette– again I felt like I could have written the blog, so many things that you hit on was exactly how it went for me. I now have a clearer mind and a different attitude about the holidays, thank you so much for giving me back some of my dreams I thought were lost forever.
    Love you for all the help I’ve received form your blogs and reading s that you share so unselfishly with us all.

  • Diane

    Thank you for the reminder. I so relate to your story. Every holiday was beyond horrible. All of my family with the exception of my only child and his wife are left. They live 2,500 miles away. I’m so missing my nutty Mother. Nonetheless, as I’ve done so many years, I’ll get through it. I am not feeling as I did for so many years that I just wanted to pull the covers over my head until after New Years. All things being equal, I’m in a much better place and my life is 100% better.

  • Lisa

    Fabulous blog .. inspiring ! xox Lisa

  • Alice

    Thankyou Colette! This Christmas we decided to have no Christmas due to past experiences!!! And then as a result we’re all really looking forward to it because we’ve got no expectations!!! Magic!! And now I’m loving whole palooza probably for first time in years!! Xx

  • Anonymous

    I woke up this morning, read your blog and was so grateful, Collette. I am armed and not at all dangerous:) ready to face the day! Much love to you!

  • Debbie

    Wonderful post. I’m spending the day with my Al-Anon pals and it is very good Thanksgiving. Grateful for the evolving me, new friends, a new outlook and my now calm happy life.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for the blog and the weekly update. In the past holidays have always been a time of year which bring dread and resentment for being with people that don’t understand or get you at all. In my family I am always ridiculed for being different . I sit and take it and know that then next family gathering will bring this up all over again.
    This year I feel happy for the season and know that I will define my boundaries, enjoy the relatives and leave with a happy heart. Thank you for the guidance.

  • Lisa B

    Simply thanks, Colette! For persevering and being our beautiful reflection in your joy laughter, tears and wisdom. What a great enriching experience and encouragement you are to us all!
    Hugs 🤗

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