The holiday spirit is a decision


I must confess, this Christmas I was simply not into the “merry” part. As always, I was juggling a hectic work schedule, shopping for my family and feeling guilty for not being able to spend quality time with anyone.

Every Christmas Eve my family goes skating. We drove down to the local ice rink and spent an hour or so skating to the holiday sounds of Mel Torme.

This year when we got to the rink, I was slow to tighten my skates. As I went around the rink, I found myself skating very cautiously. I had to concentrate to maintain my balance. My heart was simply not into it. (Nor were my ankles I might add)

We went home and I had dinner prepared from my crock-pot. Still, I was not appreciating the time I had with my family. Christmas Eve, we sat around the fire and made idle conversation. My mind was going over the busy last few days. Finally, I went to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

It wasn’t until Christmas morning that I somewhat got into the spirit. How could I not like being showered with makeup, clothes and gift cards? Is that what it takes to get me in the spirit?


As the day went on, the sun came out – a very positive plus this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. I made a quick trip to the office to thank my employees for working the holiday. Their enthusiasm for taking care of seniors was clearly seen. They were actually enjoying their day. I could feel my mood lighten.

That night we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner and a few rousing rounds of cards. I came to the conclusion that happiness is a decision.   Actually, joy is a decision. There is usually joy, love, and contentment right before our very eyes. We simply have to choose to see it and experience it.

Next year, I will make this decision much earlier.


Happy Holidays.





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1 Response to The holiday spirit is a decision

  1. Sue says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Jan. I agree that happiness is somewhat of a decision, however, it really helps to be with people that your truly love and who love you back. Perfection is not necessary, maybe even not desirable. In my view perfection is highly over-rated, and the pursuit of the perfect holiday season will only lead to self-criticism and stress.

    It is a joy to love and to be loved by family and close friends, and to have the privilege of working with people who really care about the most vulnerable persons that society cares for. I am so thankful for caregivers who are willing to work on holidays to care for our frail elderly mothers and fathers, and who enjoy their work and treat the older generation with dignity and respect. It is so hard to care for someone when you are at a distance – so there is always a bit of a hope and a prayer when you cannot be there in person.

    We have had a quiet Christmas season, and spent last night with some dear friends and had fancy grown up drinks and a great catch-up, as they have been traveling for the last month. Today was a lot of traditional family cooking, but also a lot of time to just hang out, to be with family, both young and older (the older is now us) to have a nice meals and to play games, which is one of our favorite family traditions. It is also, notably, the first year that I have really been completely trumped at a game by my grandson, who is almost seven years old. Waxed, not just once, but repeatedly. Must practice with Mike in private 🙂

    We do wish you and Gerry a peaceful Christmas season – this is really a time of change for us. Let’s connect when we are all back from our various holidays.

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