Reclaim Your Holidays – Recapture the Joy

Anticipation. Excitement. Avoidance. Ambivalence. Dread. You may have some of these and many other mixed feelings about the busy months of October, November, and December. The particular joys of the autumn/fall season, the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more – all in three months. It sometimes just feels like too much. If you feel this way, I invite you to reclaim the direction/control of your holidays. Reclaim Your Holidays!

Expectations – our own and those of others – can be overwhelming and create stress. How many of the expectations are rooted in traditions? Or habits? Are they based on your desire to be the super-person who pulls off all the observances for everyone? Are the connected to your self-esteem?

I encourage you to step back right now, before we get farther into this 3-month blitz of activity, and do some visioning, priority setting and planning.

Set aside some time, create a space where you won’t be interrupted. Consider lighting a candle or two and grab a beverage you enjoy in the fall. Have pen and paper ready. OR grab this printable “Reclaim Your Holiday Season” in my Etsy Shop to make it easier. Reclaim Your Holiday Season

Take some deep breaths and disconnect from what’s going on in your life right now and the activities of the day. Begin with thinking of 3 words that describe what you desire in this holiday season. Here are some examples to stimulate your thoughts: peace, celebration, quiet, festive, tradition, faith, connection, abundance, family, travel, gathering, love, gifts.

Clear Out Those Blocks That Stop You

Perhaps your busy mind will immediately start thinking of why those 3 things you most desire aren’t practical or possible. So take these steps to get those blocks out of the way – or at least weakened – and then it will be easier to figure out how to create what you want.

Make a “Dread” List. What is difficult during the holidays? Look at each month and its holidays and events. They may be expectations of your own, or expectations of others. They may be stressors of many kinds. Write down what comes to mind and dig down. This could take some thought. You may find some ideas in this post: 

Then tackle that list. How can specific things be modified or eliminated? Maybe it’s a simple decision on your part, or maybe it requires discussion and negotiation with others. Please consider that you may not be the only one who finds each thing difficult or frustrating or stressful. It may not be as difficult as you suppose to make modifications!

Create the Vision for Your Holiday Season

Now that you have some ideas of how to remove some of the blocks to actually having and feeling your 3 desires for this holiday season, it’s time to be more specific.

Describe in writing what experiences will provide your 3 main desires. What are the places, people, smells, tastes, sights, events. etc.? After you have a list, go back and read through it slowly and imagine how it can be. What will it be like to actually reclaim your holidays?

Words on a page are helpful; images are even more powerful. Take the next step and make a vision board which includes images from magazines or printed from the internet. Get a poster board and attach them, along with key words – big, bold versions of your 3 desires and other phrases. Post it somewhere where you will see it every day. You could also do an electronic version that will be on your computer and/or phone.

Setting Priorities That Actualize the Vision

Now that you have that vision and a vision board, it’s time to set some priorities tied to a timeframe. If you’d like a tool, I have a set of Mandala Priority Sheets for October through January in my Etsy Shop. They allow you to list priorities, give a date for each and check off when they are accomplished – and enjoy the relaxation of coloring the mandalas!  Mandala Priority Sheets

Engaging Others

Who are the people involved in your holidays? It’s important to engage them. Whether your vision includes them in different ways or distances you from typical plans, get them on board as much as possible. Share what you are doing to reclaim your holiday season. Suggest they do something similar. Offer alternatives to replace what they might expect of you. It can be a bit of a negotiation.

As I suggested earlier, you may learn that you are not the only one who would welcome some changes. It may not be as difficult as you suppose. On the other hand, it may be challenging and you may be upsetting the apple cart. Here is where you get even more creative and figure out how to balance your desires and the expectations of others – but from the clarity you have created about what you really want.

Be sure you are not just caving to pressure. Maybe you will decide to take steps toward your vision this year and plan more for next year. You could decide to modify one part of the season and leave others as they have been for now. Others may come along over time.

As you reclaim your holidays, reflect on the impact the changes made on your own sense of peace and joy. Observe the impact on others. Share your experiences with others. May these busy months reflect the true messages and values of the events we observe. And may we be fulfilled and satisfied.

I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be.       Find these and other of my books here:

My books






WHAT WE LOVE – A free Kindle Book for you

What We LoveWHAT WE LOVE describes relationships with children, spouses, pets, nature, travel and more. Over 100 writers contributed to this great collection.

We are pleased to share the results with you in this book celebrating love: the inspirational essays, narratives and insights. The intention of this book is to empower and uplift you, too, to notice what’s around you that’s ready for love from you.

5th Aging with Attitude Film Awards

Aging With Attitude


For the 5th year, Senior Planet has published its nominees for their Aging with Attitude Film Awards.

“As in earlier years, we’re nominating films released over the last year that embody ‘aging with attitude.’ The pressure is increasing in Hollywood to address ageism…. Here are some films with images about aging that were honest, strong, resilient, empowered, and well-rounded.”


The nominees among films released in 2017 are the following: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, The Hero (starring Sam Elliott), The Midwife (from France with English subtitles), Lucky, and The Post (Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks).

Descriptions, trailers and where you can view each movie are included in this article: Aging With Attitude Film Awards

This list provides some great movie entertainment for us who are in the over-50 group as well as everyone who would like to see some good films. We can all benefit from positive depictions of people of all ages.

Sticky: Welcome!

TransformationI love gathering and curating ideas and resources that enhance and enrich life. With the ever-expanding amount of information we have access to, finding what may be applicable to us can be overwhelming.  It can be very helpful to have someone do the research, gather information and share what they found on a topic.  Most of the topics being explored here can be of interest and useful to people of all ages.

Click on “Start Here: Categories of Posts” above to view post topics and click to see a list of posts related to that topic.

Some things are more specifically targeted to people aged 50 and older.  “Transforming Your Life After 50” is a process to which I am personally committed. My purpose here is to provide ideas, inspiration and tools so others can also engage in a life-affirming process that enriches and energizes their lives in our years after 50.  That process is based on our dedication to delighting in the gift of life, using that gift the best way we can, and being grateful.                                                     

“Transform” is to change in form, appearance or structure, or change in condition, nature or character; to turn around. 

People considered Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now in their mid-fifties to about seventy years old. This stage of life is different in many ways from our parents’ and grandparents’ experiences: life expectancy, health, resources, technology, and the wide array of options have changed. With the pace of our lives, many of us do not take the time or energy to take responsibility for making these years the best they can be – except perhaps in terms of finances.

For many of us, these years are ones of transition from very intense career development, child rearing, and community involvement to ones where there is some time and space available. This can be a time of new experiences and of reinventing our lives for a “third act” that includes “retirement” as we chose to define it.  It can be a time of transformation.

I invite you into an exploration of what you bring into this new phase of life and of tools that help you anticipate and design a “third age” that is satisfying, joyful and contributes to the well-being of others.  I look forward to sharing and to communicating with you as we travel this path of exploration and discovery.