For many people the holiday season (at the very least from Thanksgiving (US) through New Year’s Day) is a time of great joy and great stress. Stress being defined as all is not going the way you thought/ hoped/ planned it would.

I remember growing up my mom would start baking in late September or early October. When we were old enough, mom would delegate chopping some candied fruit for the fruitcake she made (that was sought after by family and friends it was sooo good). She also made shortbread which my dad horded.  My Aunt Ruth would make fudge and rocky road (my dad’s favorite candy).

The Christmas tree was mainly dad’s domain. He had a picture in his mind of the perfect tree one crafted with my mom’s input. Decorating the tree was a family affair with precious ornaments from my parents’ lives that they brought to their marriage as well as new ones that marked a new beginning in their lives having pride of place positions on the tree.

Christmas morning we could open our stockings and any gifts left under them. Presents under the tree had to wait until after breakfast. Breakfast consisted of Christmas bread my mom had baked, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast and coffee. I will admit that this memory is of later Christmases. My mom and dad lived within their budget, no credit cards in the 1940s so gifts were often handmade.

Why have I regaled you with all these memories?

These are all Quality World pictures from my growing up years. Holiday Then pictures.

I wrote a blog post for a group to which I belong on holidays that is somewhat similar to this and yet very different. What I found out is that many of the people with whom I interact do not celebrate the holidays now in the same way they did growing up.

People shared what they continued to do, perhaps on a smaller scale. There were many family traditions that they no longer followed. Some people created new traditions that better fit the family/lifestyle they now lived. Other people went in a totally different direction.

As we shared how we planned on celebrating various holidays this year, I could see new Quality World Holiday Pictures.

How I celebrate the holiday season has drastically changed from my growing up years.

Those big family dinners (Thanksgiving and Christmas)? Gone. I never was a big turkey fan so that one was easy to let go. I did love the apple/bacon/sage dressing/stuffing we made but that also bit the dust. I do better physically when I limit or eliminate flour so gravy, rolls, pies? Gone (although I might have a very small slice of a favorite pie if it was available).

Trees? I’ve not had a live tree for over 10 years. And the porcelain, wood, ceramic, cloth, glass trees I used to put up? Gone

My Santa collection? Gone

Decorations? Other than a wreath for the front door, an amaryllis in honor of my mom (one of her favorite flowers), I no longer decorate. In fact the 8 or so good sized plastic bins of decorations have gone to live with other family members.

So what’s left? Lights! I have a string up around my fireplace mantle as well as a couple on the front of my house. Those are up all year round because they bring me joy and also because they remind me of the spirit of the season whenever I turn them on.

My current Quality World Holiday Celebration Pictures are of a quiet time of reflection, connecting with friends and family I don’t keep up with as much as I’d planned. Quiet, peaceful are the words that bring me joy.

I’ve found as I’ve downsized my holiday celebrations there are people who totally understand why I’m doing so and others who absolutely do not understand and want me to continue. They’d bring me a tree or food or whatever it is that means holiday celebration to them.

What pictures of your early celebrations are you bringing forth in your current life? What ones are you or have you let go?

There is no right or wrong answer.

Actually there is a right answer. It is whatever brings you joy or peace or whatever feeling you want to experience.

Saturday, December 16, 2023, the Difficult Discussions in Diversity group is sharing their thoughts and Quality Worlds on “Holidays Then and Now”. We start at 2 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. Central, 12 Mountain, 11 a.m. Pacific. You are invited to join us! Here’s the link!

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 868 4605 5313
Passcode: 662804

Judith attended her first Basic Training in August 1978. She was certified in Reality Therapy in August 1979 and became an Intensive Week Trainer and Practicum Supervisor in 1981. In 1991, Judith was approved as Senior Faculty by Dr. William Glasser. She has taught all phases of the Certification Program and presented workshops at Conferences in the United States and Internationally. Currently Judith is the Northwest Region’s representative on the GIFCT Board as well as president of the NW Region.