By Jennifer Elizabeth MastersJennifer Elizabeth Masters is an Amazon Best-Selling author, life, love and sex coach. Orgasm For Life can be found on Amazon. She also is wonderful at keeping you accountable, helping you focus, get organized and become empowered. Her early life was challenging. She struggled with low self-esteem and codependency. Now Jennifer is a powerful, strong woman who empowers women and men to get to know, love and accept themselves. Loving acceptance of the self is the source of true happiness. When we love ourselves, our capacity to love and experience JOY grows also. Jennifer can be reached through her private e-mail here: [email protected] or visit her website: JenniferElizabethMasters.com You can become a part of her community on FaceBook here.
What is it about holidays that make everyone want to go home to visit? Once there, we wonder what ever possessed us to spend all that money on airfare or gas to listen to our parents’ and siblings tell us all the things that we are doing wrong and how we need to live our lives differently. But that is family. They are the ones that know exactly how to push our buttons and get our goat.
Sadly, many of us will be alone for the holidays. Children may be stateside when you are deployed. Or your family may be in a foreign country and too far to visit during this time of year. For many of us, the holidays are a time when we experience depression, loneliness, and sadness – even when with family. How then can we navigate Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas or Kwanza without our loved ones and still enjoy ourselves?
Making The Best Of The Situation
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for many reasons. Thanksgiving involves gratitude which I love. It also does not involve gift giving – so there is not a lot of financial stress over Thanksgiving, which is amazing. Thanksgiving involves cooking, eating and watching movies for me. The smell of a roasting turkey with stuffing in the oven, pies, whipped cream….. it all makes my mouth water. Until I remember that my family is all going to be spread apart this Thanksgiving. However, planning and intent can change a situation that might end up being something really wonderful.
Days Of Holidays Past
I reminisce about Thanksgiving in Canada with my family. As soon as dinner was over the women would go and clear the table, getting coffee and dessert out. My oldest brother would disappear and fall asleep on someone’s bed. He often over-eat, like Goldilocks find someone’s soft bed to roll onto. He would go into a semi-coma after a big meal. I miss those days. It has been a long time since I enjoyed Thanksgiving in Canada with my family of origin.
A new Hartman Group study reveals that 46% of all adults eat alone. This growing trend shows a move towards a more solitary environment. One good thing about eating alone is that you won’t get heartburn about what your mother, brother, sisters or brothers say to you over your meal. A peaceful candlelight dinner for one can be enjoyable. Thanksgiving though is another story.
Traditional Thanksgiving Dinners
Buying a frozen dinner hoping it will substitute for a home-cooked meal will not thrill you. Even dining out alone in a restaurant doesn’t sound exhilarating either. Here are some solutions for McDonald’s, Jack In The Box and Taco Bell, Thanksgiving meals.
- Find a local church that is doing a community dinner and join them.
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter and bring a cooked turkey to add to the feast. This way, your home still smells like turkey and you will be contributing towards feeding the hungry. So it is a win-win for both sides.
- Ask around in advance where your assistance could be needed at a church shelter or senior center. Warm bodies are always appreciated to serve with a smile. Helping out serves two purposes, you recognize what you have and you appreciate your life so much more. Giving back always makes you feel good!
- Plan in advance so that you are not spending the whole day alone. Find a group to play games with or go for a walk with later in the day.
- Take a spa vacation for two days. Pamper yourself by staying at a Hyatt or other plush hotel and treat yourself royally.
- Play Christmas music that makes you feel good.
- Write Christmas cards and Thanksgiving cards and send them early to the ones you love. This old-fashioned tradition is a lost art and will make you think of each person you won’t see with a fondness. Put your heart into your message. Don’t just sign your name.
- Call those you miss and tell them you love them.
- Watch movies that make you feel good. The happier the better. Laughter is good for the soul. Which is why I always watch National Lampoon Christmas Vacation every year, more than once.
- Avoid drinking as it is a depressant.
- Buy some scented candles to make your home or apartment smell festive.
- Do things that you love and make you feel good. Treat yourself to special foods that you wouldn’t normally cook. Like roasting a duck, or Brussel sprouts…. something you really like.
Suggested Mirth in Movies
There are some really great holiday movies out that I recommend. Some are better than others and the ones I love best make me laugh and feel warm inside. These are the type I recommend for you.
- National Lampoon Christmas Vacation – my family’s favorite stupid Christmas movie. We watch it every year. It is a classic. A lot of laughs and Chevy Chase at his creative best.
- Home For The Holidays. (1995) With Holly Hunter, Dylan McDermott, Anne Bancroft (full movie below)
- The Holiday. With Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black. Even if you don’t like Jack Black, this movie has many redeeming qualities, like the fact that it is set in the most beautiful part of England and LA. Yes, it involves love. A chick flick, but funny and sweet at the same time.
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Steve Martin and Beloved Canadian actor, John Candy. This movie is hilarious and heartwarming.
- Scrooge. Bill Murray.
- The Santa Clause. Tim Allen. Although this could be construed as a kids movie, it is a happy, feel-good movie. The kind you want to watch when you are all alone.
- Dutch. Ed O’Neill. Thanksgiving movie. Ok. You might want to kill the kid at some point in the movie, but it gets better.
- The Family Man. Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni. Wealthy Wall Street trader, living the high life. His life is changed totally overnight when he wakes up in suburbia married to his old girlfriend – with children. Great lessons, love over money. Happiness over the material. Funny, heartwarming.
- Holiday Inn. Bing Crosby. Yes, it’s old, but it’s a feel-good real Christmas movie.
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey.
- Elf. Yes, it stars Will Ferrell, but wonderfully warm and heart opening ending. Ed Asner plays Santa – well.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas. Sweet and a tradition.
- Home Alone. I couldn’t leave this one off.