The holiday season can suck. It has sucked for me many times. A huge part of that was working in retail and the other part was loneliness. When I got married to my amazing husband it improved a bit (mainly because I realized the best holiday traditions for us are just lounging around the house watching Netflix in our pajama onesies). One thing that was hard for us to navigate in the beginning was the immense amount of stress he felt regarding family obligations. I thought it sucked feeling like I had nothing to do for the holidays but it also sucks being on the other side with a huge family, conflicts and personality clashes, multiple holiday events and travel, and trying to juggle all of those things while keeping healthy boundaries intact. It’s so easy to get caught up in tradition that we forget to focus on what we need. So let’s talk about reparenting during the holidays.
Reparenting means that you are taking action to make sure that your inner child (and your current self) feels loved, heard, seen, and safe. You’re making better choices for mini-you (and current-you) than the choices that were made for you as a child.
I wanted to explore reparenting in the context of the holidays and how you can take care of your inner child by exploring what was missing in your childhood during the holiday season and then giving it to yourself now.
If the holidays are rough for you, then this is for you.
Reflect on what child-you needed.
What did you need as a child that you didn’t get? I’m not talking about toys, but the emotional stuff. Did you feel safe and wanted? Did you feel like you were paid attention to? Were the holidays full of things you actually wanted to do? Now is the perfect time to dive deep into those memories and see what was missing and how you can extend those things to yourself now.
And if you want to, get yourself that toy you always wanted.
Create holiday traditions that nourish you.
The holidays are allowed to be fun.(I’m giving you that permission just in case you need it)
It’s about choosing peace and happiness over perfection and tradition and creating routines that nourish who you are and who you want to be. It’s like rewriting the script, replacing old narratives with ones that resonate with the person you are now. And you know what? It’s never too late to start.
Practice self-compassion for past-you and current-you.
Be gentle with yourself. Be especially gentle with past-you and all the things that you’ve gone through to get to where you are. Acknowledge the progress you’ve made on your journey and celebrate the victories, no matter how small. If things get tough, remind yourself that healing is a process, not a destination. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s more than enough.
Set boundaries with love.
Boundaries during the holidays can be super hard to navigate. Consider setting boundaries that prioritize your mental health. Politely decline invitations or leave early if things start to feel overwhelming. It’s okay to choose yourself and protect your peace even if you let other people down in the process.
Connect with your support system.
One of my favorite memes is that your family is just your pre-generated party members. And I like thinking of it like that. It’s not to say that family is easily replaceable but that way of thinking encourages you to adventure with the people that make the adventure fun. So find your people. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the internet or on the other side of the world – there are so many people in the world who will think you’re amazing.
Reparenting yourself is like giving your own heart a big, warm hug. It is time to make the holiday season about whatever is most meaningful to you. Rest, play, joy, religion, family – choose your theme.
What does reparenting during the holidays look like to you?
If you’d like to explore this topic more deeply, check out my worksheet packet on Reparenting Yourself During the Holidays. It tackles emotional triggers, boundaries, and creating new traditions!