Happy December! (You know you are getting older when each month or year that passes you say "time is moving so fast"!)
December and holidays can be a lot of things to a lot of different people. It can be added stress, obligations, grief, lonliness, conflict etc. We have more things to do, more people to see, and the added pressure of making sure everything is a "magical" experience.
I acknowledge all the hard components. I've written about them on blogs and social media, and will continue to do so. Your feeds on whatever social media you use are probably flooded with skills and techniques to "get through the holidays". So I want to offer an alternative approach. One that initially may inspire the thought "I don't have time for that".
This December, make time to PLAY.
Lighten! Joke! Be silly! Find ways to giggle uncontrollably. My parenting win for the year was a moment in the summer when we were all grumpy, and we went outside and had a water squirter fight! We were all drenched, shreiking and laughing. We all played!
Play When it is Tough:
I know someone who made an over/under bet with their partner on how many times they would cry during a family gathering. I love this! They didn't stop themselves from crying, there was no self judgement. There was an accepting and lighthearted approach that was probably very needed. So, make bets on how often your cousin mentions their Ivy League education, or how many times your parent gets up from the table to get something for someone else. Have a sip of hot cider when the same few people make the same passive aggressive comments, or when the pregnant family member mentions their upcoming pregnancy for the upteenth time. (Look, we love our family members, mostly. But they are going to do what they always do, might as well have fun with it!)
(Basketball after brunch? Charades after charcuterie? Limbo after lo mein?) Play music. (Family jam time after dinner? Is guitar hero still a thing?) Ask icebreaker questions. (Which superpower would you have and why? What is your favorite movie? What is the best live concert you have ever been to?) Snowball fight, anyone?! If you are wanting to emotionally connect with family check out the game Where Should We Begin by Esther Perel, it has really moving and thought provoking questions, I guarantee you will learn something new about your family.
I Don't Know How to Play:
Confession time, I have a hard time coming up with what Play is for me. I know it's important, but I don't play sports or games much, I'm not a practical joker, and I have a hard time driving around matchbox cars just for the sake of it. Have I lost the ability to play?
Then I found this awesome resource, https://www.nifplay.org/, that talks about why play for adults is important, different types of play and that people have different Play Personalities. I took the free quiz and found out that my play personality is a Storyteller, which makes much more sense because I would rather read, tell stories, watch a play, or do something imaginative. So, maybe I can play! And if I can, then you definitely can too!
Happy December, Happy Holidays, Happy Playtime!