Beware of Martha Stewart







‘Tis the season!” Whether we like it or not, the holidays have begun. Let’s not leave out Halloween. That one is not as simple as it looks.


Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE holidays. I’m Irish and I look for any reason to celebrate. But when I follow the Hallmark breadcrumb trail, they can lead  me right to the Hansel and Gretel cottage.


When I was a child, let’s just say my family had “issues”. To be fair, they were pretty big issues and led me to create a fantasy family where things were safe, predictable, and could now be on the Hallmark Channel. Early on I vowed that when I grew up and had a family, our holidays were going to be like they “should be”.


Halloween meant the perfect costumes, orange and black foods, baked cupcakes for all the kids in their classes, house decorations…the works! Thanksgiving was defined by a perky, perfectly cooked bird that entered the oven at 4 a.m. whether I was nursing my second child or not. The table so full it could have fed the masses, and of course, a full breakfast of homemade (not Bisquick) pancakes with blueberries, long out of season and running 15.00 a pint. There’s nothing too good for my kids! And Christmas…well, you get the picture. Be sure to include a handmade gingerbread house that cost me about 50.00 and this was in the 70’s! It had to be perfect and everybody had to be on the same page as me or it was all destroyed. That fantasy was my reality. I had no idea until much later in my life that my family could have cared less. All they wanted was to enjoy it.  And for my husband, the only thing he cared about was not missing the big game!


It was all for me, really. All of those holidays. I needed them. The child inside of me needed them. And, even in my 30’s, my child was driving the car. Bless her sweet little heart.


Now, I know what these holidays are all about. Yes, they are about love family, whether our family by birth or choice, whether stable and happy or like people spinning in a blender.  And yet, when we really boil it all down, holidays are merely one more day where we are invited to join others to have fun, remembering  that the most important thing is loving one another regardless of the configuration of our lives. In short…an opportunity to see what really matters in life.


Sometimes we can forget that, in reality, families look as different as all our fingerprints. Singles are often not seen or when they are, sometimes viewed with pity or misunderstanding. Single parents can feel as if they aren’t a real family. Solos who lost their partners often lose their partner’s families. Young parents with children are forming their own traditions while aging parents struggle with fitting in. Blended families, by ethnicity or re-marriage figure out their customs and how to honor and celebrate together. How far this is from the holiday cards with photos of families as they “should be”.


This season of holidays can be just wonderful! Defining what is really important about them such as love and closeness is the first step. Then, looking outside and remembering others around you who might need some love. Love, my friends and taking the time to share it, lift and glass to it, and just be happy with whatever happens...snowing on Halloween, burned turkey, another tie for the holidays. Notice yourself as you move into this season and if you’re already feeling stressed, ask yourself if Martha is in the room.


You might be feeling you could use a little guidance this holiday season. You CAN enjoy your holidays, no matter the season in your life. Give me a call or email me and let’s talk about how. 


Donna Bailey, MS

Life Changing Coach

Donna’s Big RED Chair