Two weeks before Christmas, I finally was able to get my husband to help me bring up the tree so it could be decorated, and set up for the holidays. It’s funny. I’ve been reflecting on the traditions that I’ve had; he’s had; and what I wanted in my life during this holiday season. I realized, after looking for ornaments and Christmas cards, that traditions are what we value.

About 10 years ago I received this beautiful ornament from a family friend after my mom passed. That ornament was always the very last ornament that went on the tree as I decorated it. Over the years I realized that this was a great way to pay tribute to the passing of the happenings through the year. I think a lot of people may do this; it’s why we collect ornaments. However, these days I’ve also noticed that ornaments in the Hallmark store not always life or Christmas-themed either. They are shelved with things Star Wars, and Barney, and Minions, and things that make no sense. So it’s always a hunt to find something related to life happenings unless I do it right there in the moment.

Last year we completely forgot to get one for the completion of our dream home, so this year I was dedicated to finding ones for 2015. In this quest for honoring 2015 I came to discover why Christmas can be hard for people. If you take the opportunity to really reflect on what has transpired through the year, and not just what is going on right now, during the holiday season, we look at ALL the ups and downs of our life. And for a society that has been condition for this time of year to be “the most joyful season,” we often can just skip over the challenges we faced through out the year.

What were my Christmas ornaments for 2015? The first one was an ornament that says, “Believe in Yourself” that has “Be You” in bold and is placed on a beautiful reflective mirror. The reason I picked this was because I just concluded my participation in a mastermind and circle of women, who helped me deepen into who I am. The women in this group’s unconditional love and support helped me discover what I desire out of life; authentic focus on my business; and help me come home to myself. I had the opportunity of experiencing all of these emotions all while traveling the world and seeing things I never thought I’d ever get a chance to see. In it’s entirety it was a two-year chapter of deepening into self-awareness and self-acceptance.

The second one I bought this year was a toolbox with the saying “making fun memories with Dad.” In February this year my dad passed away after his battle with cancer. I bought it to commemorate our relationship. It was a tough one, all 39 years of them. And yet in the end, the memories that I’ve had and the relationship I desired to have, is really coming to fruition now. I miss him and I’m really grateful for what I have learned through my relationship with him. I have accepted our relationship through my own growth, grief, and understanding.

In all of this, the one thing that really struck me, is the fact that we often want to just get through the holidays and not really honor the holidays and what they mean. Like finding a tradition that slows you down in order to really reflect on the year past. I find that we make up more “to-dos” and “have tos” in order to create the sense of joy and love, even when this may not be the most joyful time of year for someone. It is a reason why people get lonely, depressed, and a little anxious, before and after the holidays. Because when you just get through the holidays that means at some point in time you will have the feelings of what’s really going on, or what you may be avoiding and how you’re actually truly feeling. Are you avoiding what the year has really brought you?

I would encourage slowness. I would encourage honor and traditions, and I would encourage everything that you’re feeling, from the joy to the sadness, to the memories of the year that you just had. Finish the chapter of the book before you move on to the New Year celebration.