A Holiday Message From the Executive Director

Many things come to mind when we talk about the holidays. For some of us, that includes trees with lights and sparkly ornaments, cookies baking in the oven, or a man in a red suit with a jolly laugh. For others, the satisfying taste of a potato latke, a lighted menorah, or a spinning dreidel. For others yet, the telling of today’s principle by candlelight and an answer to “Habari gani?” (Swahili for “what’s the news?”)

For some, thoughts of the holidays might include memories of the past spent with people who are departed or the reminder of family conflict that inevitably happens at some family gatherings. Maybe family was abusive and moments that are better forgotten just come flooding back. Maybe the holidays feel completely empty as it feels like everyone else is surrounded by love except you.

There are a lot of emotions that come with the holidays. Sometimes a single hour can bring joy, anger, frustration, and anxiety. The holidays have a way of pulling these ranges of emotions out of us. It’s okay to not have the Hallmark holiday. It’s okay to feel however you feel about the days ahead.

The holidays are a great time to practice self-care and to reach out to those that might be forgotten. Remember that friend that you haven’t talked to in a couple years and now it just feels awkward to have a conversation because it has been so long? Reach out to them. They would likely be delighted to hear from you. Let go of expectations for others and for yourself. Stop using the word “should”. Should means either you or someone else expects that from you, but you aren’t really all that excited about doing it. Practice forgiveness. Forgive yourself for not being able to go to that one Aunt’s house that always makes you feel bad about yourself. Take the time to do what is important to you. If you find it important to go visit Grandma in the nursing home, make sure you do it. Try something new. Create a new tradition or break an old one. If it is always the same, it is not likely to be fulfilling for you. If you are spending your holidays around many others, be present in in your interactions. Make sure that they are spent meaningfully instead of just checking a box.

We at Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area hope that the holiday season fills you with love and joy. If it doesn’t, we hope that it brings you peace, understanding, and perspective. We at FSA are grateful for the many people that trust us in sharing these complicated emotions and life experiences at the holidays and every day. We wish everyone a 2018 that fulfills your goals and energizes your dreams!

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