Holidays are not happy, family times for everyone

Posted by Carol, Volunteer Mentor @retiredteacher, Wed, Nov 20 7:08pm

This time of year from Halloween through New Year’s is not a happy time for everyone. It is not for me and my husband because we have no family. All the adds and activities that show families around the table chatting and talking and enjoying all the special food and fellowship just make it worse. It’s hard to have a glorious time because we’ve never experienced the family tradition. I prepare the traditional food, but there is no real celebration. I just want everyone to know that this time of year is not always what it’s advertised to be. It also brings depression and hurt and a feeling of being left out. However, it’s always been this way for my husband and me, so we are used to it. We don’t buy each other gifts, but choose a needy child and buy for that child. We prepare donations for the food banks in our area and try to do what we can to help those who have family but little else. I know there are other people like us, soI just wanted to remind others that not everyone has family to celebrate with. Rather than the jolly, we celebrate the spiritual aspect and welcome a new year.
Carol

There is one thing that is constant: CHANGE!
( I don’t know who said that, but isn’t it true!

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@gingerw

@helenfrances Having no regrets is the life to strive for. And kudos to you to invite those who may be alone or want company. This will be our first holiday season in this little town. My husband is due up here tomorrow morning for a week. We haven't decided what we will do, yet.
Ginger

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Enjoy each other and the change in ‘scenery’.
An adventure!
Who knows who you may meet!

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@retiredteacher This is an excellent discussion to have. People seem to have crazy ideas about perfect families and there’s not a care in the world, but I think it can be a sad time for so many. Before I retired, I would volunteer to work (as a nurse) on Christmas Eve Or Day. It felt good to be able to give someone the day off. But, really, being at work in the hospital, was a great place to be. We had time to spend with those patients without families and to share with staff who also had no one. Now, with our sons away and with their own families, we build new traditions for us.

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@gingerw

@helenfrances Having no regrets is the life to strive for. And kudos to you to invite those who may be alone or want company. This will be our first holiday season in this little town. My husband is due up here tomorrow morning for a week. We haven't decided what we will do, yet.
Ginger

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Sounds wonderful: holiday with your husband in a little town for a week. Going with the flow….There is nothing like a change in scenery. Enjoy!

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@retiredteacher the holidays, as you say, are not happy times for everyone. This year my husband and I will be alone for Christmas. My son will be going to his in-law’s and coming for a visit on the 28th for a few days. My daughter and her husband decided since our son will not be getting here until then that they will wait until then also. My kids know that I am not a demanding mother and I would never put them on a guilt trip so that makes life easier for them. Sure, I wish they would be here but we will see them eventually.
Carol, I love that you use the time to give to a needy child and donate to food banks. I always make a monetary donation to the Food Bank. I did volunteer work there for a while so it’s a charity that I feel close to. One year when it was just us and our daughter, my daughter and I wanted to serve at the Food Kitchen but my husband did not want to so we stayed with him.
I think in this time of joy and spirituality that it is especially important to remember those less fortunate, whether simply from a secular standpoint, since it is a time of “goodwill” or from a spiritual standpoint. If I knew someone who would be alone I would love to share our meal with them – I will cook a nice holiday dinner.
JK

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@becsbuddy

@retiredteacher This is an excellent discussion to have. People seem to have crazy ideas about perfect families and there’s not a care in the world, but I think it can be a sad time for so many. Before I retired, I would volunteer to work (as a nurse) on Christmas Eve Or Day. It felt good to be able to give someone the day off. But, really, being at work in the hospital, was a great place to be. We had time to spend with those patients without families and to share with staff who also had no one. Now, with our sons away and with their own families, we build new traditions for us.

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What a beautiful ministry… visiting the sick, those who possibly have relatives who are far away or taking care of small children.
The staff must really appreciate you.
Blessings!

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@becsbuddy

@retiredteacher This is an excellent discussion to have. People seem to have crazy ideas about perfect families and there’s not a care in the world, but I think it can be a sad time for so many. Before I retired, I would volunteer to work (as a nurse) on Christmas Eve Or Day. It felt good to be able to give someone the day off. But, really, being at work in the hospital, was a great place to be. We had time to spend with those patients without families and to share with staff who also had no one. Now, with our sons away and with their own families, we build new traditions for us.

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I agree @retiredteacher good conversation. Personally, I've always looked forward to the holidays over the course of the year and while I miss my wife more than usual during them these days, I never realized how many folks are made miserable by them.

Good to know and now I'll be more inclined to keep my enjoyment and celebration of their meanings to myself.

Strength, courage, and peace

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@retiredteacher In my family, which is much much smaller now Dave and I go to my sister's. I use to do Christmas but can't seem to do either holiday right now. When I use to do it there was always someone with us who had no place else to go. I find that giving always makes me feel better. What is sad for me is that my son never makes it home from the west coast for either day. But my sister's side seems to be growing and I love love my oldest nephew and his partner and he folks who come up from Brazil. I like what you said Becky- no family is perfect, there are always weeds in the perfect lawn so the grass is not always greener. But being alone is also a choice because there is always some place that needs someone to give of their time, even if it's not ideal. Life isn't always kind, but we can be.
That said I wish for everyone a peaceful and healthy Thanksgiving.

REPLY
@contentandwell

@retiredteacher the holidays, as you say, are not happy times for everyone. This year my husband and I will be alone for Christmas. My son will be going to his in-law’s and coming for a visit on the 28th for a few days. My daughter and her husband decided since our son will not be getting here until then that they will wait until then also. My kids know that I am not a demanding mother and I would never put them on a guilt trip so that makes life easier for them. Sure, I wish they would be here but we will see them eventually.
Carol, I love that you use the time to give to a needy child and donate to food banks. I always make a monetary donation to the Food Bank. I did volunteer work there for a while so it’s a charity that I feel close to. One year when it was just us and our daughter, my daughter and I wanted to serve at the Food Kitchen but my husband did not want to so we stayed with him.
I think in this time of joy and spirituality that it is especially important to remember those less fortunate, whether simply from a secular standpoint, since it is a time of “goodwill” or from a spiritual standpoint. If I knew someone who would be alone I would love to share our meal with them – I will cook a nice holiday dinner.
JK

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@contentandwell My husband and I will be alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that is the usual routine. You are blessed that both of your children want to come and you can enjoy everything together. We don't have that so it's always just the two of us. I would love to be able to work at a food kitchen and help feed the homeless, but my husband and I are not able to do that. So we do what we can and enjoy being together. We do decorate and have holiday décor that makes the holidays happier.
Carol

REPLY
@IndianaScott

I agree @retiredteacher good conversation. Personally, I've always looked forward to the holidays over the course of the year and while I miss my wife more than usual during them these days, I never realized how many folks are made miserable by them.

Good to know and now I'll be more inclined to keep my enjoyment and celebration of their meanings to myself.

Strength, courage, and peace

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@IndianaScott I don't think you should keep your holiday enjoyment to yourself. Spread the joy and maybe someone would see that the holidays are not always unhappy times. It depends on where we put the focus.
Carol

REPLY
@becsbuddy

@retiredteacher This is an excellent discussion to have. People seem to have crazy ideas about perfect families and there’s not a care in the world, but I think it can be a sad time for so many. Before I retired, I would volunteer to work (as a nurse) on Christmas Eve Or Day. It felt good to be able to give someone the day off. But, really, being at work in the hospital, was a great place to be. We had time to spend with those patients without families and to share with staff who also had no one. Now, with our sons away and with their own families, we build new traditions for us.

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@becsbuddy When I was in law enforcement, I usually took someone's shift if I was scheduled off at holidays, so they could be with family and children. When I was training racehorses on the racetrack, there was usually a special racecard on Thanksgiving, and the backstretch kitchen would put on a feast for everyone. Still giving as I can, in ways that I can.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@becsbuddy When I was in law enforcement, I usually took someone's shift if I was scheduled off at holidays, so they could be with family and children. When I was training racehorses on the racetrack, there was usually a special racecard on Thanksgiving, and the backstretch kitchen would put on a feast for everyone. Still giving as I can, in ways that I can.
Ginger

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Hi @gingerw, wow…..what a helpful mission. I would love the racehorses. What came to me was the need to focus on shelter dogs. I created an event titled “Christmas Eve for the animals” to bring more attention to their need for a forever home.

As the years progressed folks would bring their adopted dogs back for a bit of a meetup with others from prior years. Their stories encouraged more to consider adoption. Sort of like a special “Connect”.

So are you cooking for a crowd on Thanksgiving? Hope someone is cooking for you. Chris

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@retiredteacher

@contentandwell My husband and I will be alone on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that is the usual routine. You are blessed that both of your children want to come and you can enjoy everything together. We don't have that so it's always just the two of us. I would love to be able to work at a food kitchen and help feed the homeless, but my husband and I are not able to do that. So we do what we can and enjoy being together. We do decorate and have holiday décor that makes the holidays happier.
Carol

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@retiredteacher , Hi there Carol. It is great that you have each other. On Thanksgiving, for years, I had an Orphan’s dinner. Anyone who didn’t have someone could come.

Once a friend brought his aging father who had just lost his wife. Another time a young lady offered to bring the potatoes. She showed up with a bag of them. So, we helped her learn how to peel and cook potatoes.

It was a joyous day until someone spilled a Bloody Mary on my grandmother’s tablecloth that took her 20 years to embroider. So we practiced forgiveness. There is lots to learn, to share, and to enjoy. Be at peace and with renewed health
Chris

REPLY
@gingerw

@helenfrances Having no regrets is the life to strive for. And kudos to you to invite those who may be alone or want company. This will be our first holiday season in this little town. My husband is due up here tomorrow morning for a week. We haven't decided what we will do, yet.
Ginger

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@gingerw Whatever you do, I hope it is a nice Thanksgiving. You and your husband have a lot to be thankful for with your new home in an area that you love, and you have each other of course. I don't love going to my step-son's home for the holiday but it is important for my husband so I do it. I would much prefer to go to NYC and spend the holiday with my daughter and her husband. We may go on Friday for the weekend.
I generally bring a dessert and an appetizer and this year I will bring my homemade cranberry sauce too. My son made it for a "friendsgiving" they had last weekend and will bring to someone else's home for Thanksgiving so he made me want it. It really is good – very tart.

@artscaping That's so funny, that someone brought raw potatoes! I read recently that if you are asked to bring paper goods you know you are not a good cook! One time a friend was going to an associate's home for Thanksgiving and asked what she could bring. The other woman said the turkey! So, she did.
JK

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@artscaping

@retiredteacher , Hi there Carol. It is great that you have each other. On Thanksgiving, for years, I had an Orphan’s dinner. Anyone who didn’t have someone could come.

Once a friend brought his aging father who had just lost his wife. Another time a young lady offered to bring the potatoes. She showed up with a bag of them. So, we helped her learn how to peel and cook potatoes.

It was a joyous day until someone spilled a Bloody Mary on my grandmother’s tablecloth that took her 20 years to embroider. So we practiced forgiveness. There is lots to learn, to share, and to enjoy. Be at peace and with renewed health
Chris

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What great stories about previous Thanksgivings, @artscaping. I especially like the one about the young lady who brought the sack of potatoes! I won't forget that one soon, I appreciate the smile for today.

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