The holidays are upon us, bringing emotions of various types, sizes, and shapes. We might feel anything from joy to anxiety, from stress to enjoyment, from dread to relief. Family togetherness or alone and lonely.  Parties to isolation. The holidays can mean different things to different people.

Some of the hype of the holidays can get under our skin, put pressure on us, or overwhelm us with expectations. I’ve lived in different places, celebrated the holidays with different people, and observed different traditions. It’s taken a bit of adjustment through the years – I’ve missed past rituals, but have also welcomed new experiences.

I’ve celebrated with close family, extended family, new family, or no family. Sometimes there was snow and cold, sometimes sand and heat. Turkey dinners and homemade tamales. Carols and fireworks. I’ve not always felt at home, haven’t even always felt like celebrating anything. Still, the holidays came.

This year, another holiday season is here, and it’s been different yet again. I’m discovering, though, that I can choose how I want to celebrate, or even if I want to celebrate, what traditions I want to keep, and which ones to let go of. I’ve got choices rather than “have to’s”, and it’s making this holiday season a little bit more personal, a touch merrier.

I hope everyone can find their own best way of celebrating this holiday, and any holiday they choose to observe. Or not. It’s okay to be you the way you want.