Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Caregivers at the holidays - a brief word of advice

Holidays. The time of year when we’re all supposed to be jolly, worry-free and generous.

In reality, many families find it a time for stress. The pants fit too tightly; the calendar is jammed with way too little “down” time; and the relatives are coming.

Some families find holidays a time of discovery: mom or dad simply can’t function as in the past. Something needs to be done. Now, it’s a matter of who, when, what and how…and you know it won’t be easy.

Some families find holidays a time for renewed rivalry: you live closest to mom and run errands for her every week. Your sister, living worry-free (at least in your mind) on the other coast, cruises into town and is instantly the favored child.

It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit. It’s even harder to remember that, amidst all the noise, shopping and food, holidays are a time to celebrate life.

After all, whichever version of the holidays you celebrate, at the root is a celebration of life. The birth of a child who truly changed the world. The commemoration of an eternal flame and a new beginning.

You’ll find lots of tips, suggestions and ideas for getting through this holiday season in newspapers, magazines and online. But perhaps the best one of all is simply to remember why we celebrate, and to think, mindfully, every day, about the gifts of life that you’re thankful for.

And wear elastic-waist pants.

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