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Sharpe-Jefferson: The Value of Precious Holiday Memories

By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson

 While everyone else is focused on decorating and spreading holiday cheer, I firmly recognize this is not the case for everyone. Holidays evoke mixed emotions for some.

Whether it’s the memory of lost loved ones, the sting of failed relationships, or the stress of holiday gatherings, parties and dinner dates, celebratory cheer isn’t always the automatic emotion.

Sometimes, truthfully, fatigue is the most prevalent thing we feel with all the pressure, perceptions and expectations that come with this time of the year.

If I had to guess the origins of why we’re so ingrained to do in this season and not just be, I’d say it has a lot to do with our upbringing and what society calls tradition.

I remember when we were young, Christmas and holidays always meant travel away from our home and purchasing gifts for other family members. Notice the direction of the goodwill – we left our home, and we spent our money on others.

Rarely did guests come to our home to visit and rarely did we receive gifts from them. Now it is absolutely a good gesture to give and no, we don’t give in order to receive from people.

But I am a person who believes strongly in balance in relationships and just as we strive to bless others, I believe friends and loved ones should have the notion to return the same at some point (even if it’s in a different form).

But once we learned better, we made a change.

And rather than try to gift or give our way into holiday goodwill, my family learned that the value of precious memories trumped things.

Sure, we still traveled some to visit family and spread holiday cheer, but there were times we prioritized our own individual family over others. And it was needful.

Keep in mind, I am not spreading any ill will. Simply sharing a heartfelt lesson my family learned about defining the holiday and the spirit of giving for ourselves.

Yes, we still visit and reach out. But not out of duty and ritual, but out of sincere desire. And if we don’t, then that’s okay too because love can’t be counted in gifts and mileage alone.

You may think this sounds a little strange, but I’m giving you a break this Thanksgiving and Christmas. You don’t owe me (or anyone else for that matter) any made-up, contrived or fake emotions or gestures.

I’m giving you permission to just be. Enjoy your life. Take some down time. Define what the holiday season looks like for you. Ride solo or spend time with your family or friends. Microwave a dinner for one or treat extended family and friends to a homecooked meal. Attend holiday parties and events, or you can spread holiday cheer at home complete with your own music, décor and themed movies.

Take the pressure off this holiday season. Enjoy it on your own terms.

As always, I’m cheering for you and am here should you need to talk it through.

Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson is a life coach, author and speaker. Her column appears each month online and in The Birmingham Times. You can contact Keisa at keisasharpe@yahoo.com and visit http://www.allsheanaturals.com for natural hair and body products.