Finding Joy Throughout the Holidays

Holidays can be hard, especially when you’re grieving. Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one or the loss of what you expected your holidays to look like, all of that can impact your feelings about the holiday. After getting married and having my daughter, I always envisioned Christmas celebrations together with lots of joy and excitement. Although this year will be full of lots of joy, it’s a different kind of joy, a joy that looks different than what I had planned for my life. And it’s okay to feel upset or off about that. Last year was early into our separation for the holidays, and that was really hard for me. This year is still uncomfortable, but it’s getting easier to manage grieving the loss of what could have been.

But I’ve been really focusing on the joy of the fact that I get to be with my daughter for the full Christmas day and I am focusing on creating as many traditions and memories for us and creating the magic of Christmas for her that my mom created for me when I was growing up. And not having my mom here for yet another Christmas is hard for me. I remember feeling that the last Christmas we spent together would be our last Christmas together, and I hate that I was right. I hate that Charlotte won’t get to experience a Christmas with my mom. And these feelings also make the holidays a really emotional time.

All that to say, if you’re struggling this holiday season to find the joy, your feelings are valid. If you’re missing someone because they’ve passed away, or because they can’t physically be with you on the holiday for whatever reason, it makes sense that this time is hard. If you’re sad that the holiday doesn’t look quite the way you planned, I get that. I encourage you to feel sad or angry about what you are grieving this holiday season. But I also encourage you to find your own new tradition or experience this holiday that helps you to find a little joy. For me, that means leaning into what is, rather than thinking about what could be, and taking advantage of what I do have – so many incredible and magical moments with my daughter and the ability to see the joy on her face when she sees all of the presents Santa brings. We’ve been watching way too many Christmas movies, reading a ton of Christmas books, doing Christmas art projects and baking cookies. We’ve been creating our own happiness in what we have. We’ve been creating new traditions and enjoying our time. And I know my mom is so happy that I’m taking the space despite what I’ve gone through, to make this time so happy and exciting for my daughter.

Even if things feel or look different than what you imagined, I hope you can seek out a small moment of joy this holiday season and know that you are where you are supposed to be. Take advantage of what you do have around you. Find gratitude in even the smallest parts of your life. This is how we seek out the joy. This is how we overcome. This is how we keep moving forward. It’s okay if the holidays are hard this year, for yet another year or for the first time ever, your feelings are valid, and you have the strength to make it through.


Be Beautifully Simply You