Four Things to Remember if the Holidays Feel Hard

even when the holidays are tough, allow yourself to find joy

Thanksgiving is coming up and sometimes the holidays don’t really bring out the holly, jolly or the cheer—sometimes they’re just plain hard. So one of our mommy bloggers wanted to share some good things to remember when you start to feel like finding joy is just too much at the moment. 


Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful—to stop and smell the roses (or the marigolds as my little girl did). And while gratitude is good, holidays can also give us a mixed bag of emotions. Hard things still happen even on the best of days, so here’s a little cheat sheet in case your feelings don’t know how to take a day off.

Food Guilt

Stuffing your face then taking a stab at your self-worth—don’t do it. One day of bad eating won’t make you big, just like one day on a diet won’t make you thin. Eat and enjoy.

Family and Friend Dynamics

Go if you want, stay home if you want. Excuse yourself if you’re tired, if it’s too chaotic or if the current discussion compromises your beliefs. Boundaries are beautiful things, but sometimes boundary lines blur during the holiday season and our cheer gets the best of us. Just remember, “We have an obligation to love everyone, but some people we must love at a safe distance.” Send them to the kiddie table and keep yourself at peace.

The Perfect Day

Burned those pie crusts? Can’t carve a turkey? Who cares? Ditch it—I heard Dominos still delivers. Forget the place settings, put on PJs, and fill your bellies with good company instead. I bet that’ll make for a more memorable Thanksgiving than if everything went right.

Missing a Loved One

Let yourself feel it all, and feel it deep. I have this weird voodoo belief that a piece of each person we love is left behind with us when they go, and carrying that piece may feel extra heavy on the bigger celebratory days. Let it sit with you. I don’t want to be forgotten one day, but I also want to be remembered joyfully. Find the tradition they loved and teach it to someone else so it continues on. That’s how we all stay alive—our goodness gets passed along.

Eat, drink, be merry (avoid that cousin if he or she robs your joy), always do what’s best for you and if you can’t find anything to be thankful for then just place your hand on your chest. After all, “A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.”

Happy Thanksgiving, from my big feelings to yours.


Stephanie Hanrahan was just your seemingly average housewife until she grew tired of pretending and took an axe to her white picket fence (also known as making her private journal public). Learn how she traded her pretending for a panty liner on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog Tinkles Her Pants, where she chronicles her journey as wife to a husband with chronic illness, mother to special needs kiddos, and a woman who often unravels then finds her footing again.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Hanrahan.