Holiday Love

Written by Briana Cavanaugh

December 23, 2015

It’s the holidays!

I love the holidays (again) and I know not everyone does. They can be brought and difficult with conflict or sadness and loss. And I’ve personally added to reclaiming my relationship with the winter holidays over a long, grueling period of death and destruction.

So I often hesitate to send something out this time of year.

Here’s what I want to say to you: I want you to know that you are loved and that you are a gift from the goddess in human form – no matter how you feel right now. You are literally a child of the stars, made of star stuff.

It’s taken me a long time to love the holidays again. My mom, the Queen of Christmas, was dying for 10 years and then for most of 2 years after that I was grieving pretty heavily.

When I was a kid Christmas was a joy – yes there was very occasional drama, like the time my gramma had a stroke on Christmas Eve and all us cousins were shoved upstairs and we jumped on the bed until it broke. (It took about 8 of us all jumping together, for the record.) Even in the hard parts, my family was funny.

Or the time when my youngest aunt (of 13 siblings) fought with my gramma and then they didn’t speak for 2 years. But usually the gatherings were huge, sweet and beautiful.

I have tons of cousins, almost all of whom I love deeply and many of whom I’m still in active touch with even though we are spread out literally all over the country.

Sometimes they annoy me, and sometimes in my immediate family it’s very, very hard. But the holidays, my family makes an effort.

And my mom loved this time of year. My relationship with her was very mixed, but Christmas was a time of relative peace in our house. My mom cooked and baked and decorated everything! We did all the holiday things: watch movies, go to events, see the lights, watch nutcracker. It felt like every wish would come true.

We’d go caroling at the old folk’s homes and up and down the streets around my grandmother’s home. We’d drive to see lights, we’d make tons of cookies and treats and I got to see my cousins!

I always felt so full of hope and joy and generosity.

When my mom was dying, I let go of the holidays pretty much all together for a long time. We’ve not done a tree in 15 years, no decorating, and my projects focused on the practical: tinctures lip balms, deodorant, elixirs. Full of love, but practical rather than whimsical.

And so this year marks the first year I feel joy – real joy – at the lights and singing (I do know all the songs and love to sing them all), and kids and the presents.

If you really knew me you’d know that watching children play and laugh and be in wonder about things like the amazing lights and magical things is one of my greatest joys in the world.

This year is the first time in about 13 years that I bought holiday decorations – just 3 things: a red table cloth, a white and gold runner and a sign that says “JOY!” in big light up letters.

I’m taking my own small steps it reclaims my joy, peace and love. A hard fought – and nearly won, battle.

So where ever you find yourself, no matter what you celebrate or don’t, you are seen and loved and appreciated. I know because I see you, love you and appreciate you.

Many blessings on your journey.
Briana

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