As we enter the holiday season, familial relationships are on many people’s minds. 

Perhaps you are upset because you won’t see someone important to you. Or because you’re dreading that you will.

The sense of ‘missing out’ on the mythical experience of togetherness we’ve collectively conjured around the holidays coupled with less daylight has you depressed. 

Perhaps you’re stealing yourself and girding your loins in anticipation of baiting questions and emotional landmines. 

Or maybe you’ve navigated those waters and are having a small intimate gathering of friends or loved ones where you know you will be safe and enjoy your tryptophan coma afterwards. 

Whatever the case may be, I invite us all to relish the possibility of some guilt-free rest and distraction. To not take any of it so seriously. To renounce negative inferences of any kind so that we instead experience humor and curiosity.

An authentically curious ‘What an odd way to react’ will leave you more unscathed than taking anyone’s behavior seriously. It will allow you to separate from their shame and in doing so, leave space in your heart for empathy towards them.

Perhaps you’re the gatherer, and key players are not showing up. They’ve chosen to work for time and a half, or go someplace else. Rather than entertaining disappointment because your vision will be unmet, support their choice. That way you can be fully present to whomever is coming and fully enjoy those connections.

And remember, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza or Festivus, it’s just another day.