The holidays cast a disproportionate light (or shadow, depending on your perspective) over the rest of the year. Many retailers make or miss their yearly goals based on holiday volume; similarly, the anticipation, celebration, and aftermath of the holidays loom large over one-third of the year and beyond in our psyches. The trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, with their associations of personal and collective reflection and summation, is a powerful force. The effect can be compounded if, as is the case with me, your birthday falls squarely in the middle of the holiday mayhem.
“Home” is a strong component of the holidays. Maybe it’s something about the days getting shorter and the darkness getting longer that enkindles in us this archetypal urge to return to the primordial hearth, that place where the home fires burn. Regardless of the source of the impulse, many holiday itineraries include a journey back to our families of origin. These can be heartwarming times, full of sentiment and nostalgia and renewal of relationships. They can also be times of tension as we return to family dynamics and roles (and, in some cases, childhood rooms and beds) that don’t fit us so well anymore.
I want to make a strong case for a special intentional journey home during the holidays—home to yourself. Don’t let the holidays happen to you like an accident or run over you like a garland-festooned Mack truck. Use the holidays as a time to stoke your own home fire, so that you can burn brighter for yourself and those around you. Set a goal and some time to get warm and cozy in your own skin. Create a strong sense of yourself as home—a place where you belong, where you are safe, known, embraced, welcomed. If you do that, you’ll be able to handle anything external the holidays throw at you.
We’ll talk about some ways to do that in future posts. For now, set an intention, pull out your compass, and orient it toward your heart.