A Holiday Letter from Chanda

By Chanda Alicea

Dear Readers,

The holidays are coming. This is a time of love, joy, togetherness and celebration. Whatever belief you have, this season comes with gatherings a plenty. With that being said, my first piece of advice, is above all else please be safe. My second piece of advice is that with joy comes sadness. I was inspired by watching Theo’s Instagram story and I wanted to speak on it myself. 

I’ve never mentioned it, but I have somewhat of a large extended family. My mom was 1 of 7. None of my family lives where I do. Holidays have always been hard for me since we moved to Arizona. I envied seeing pictures of all my friends back home with their families, wishing I was there visiting my late grandmother and reconnecting with friends I hardly get to see, but who I love dearly. It still kind of tugs at my heart. 

I embrace the holidays because I love them, but I also struggle especially now as a parent knowing that we don’t get to enjoy time with my family. As time goes on, I have also learned how to embrace the situation we are in and make the most of what we have. I will not lie to you. It’s not easy at all, and it’s not an adaptation that everyone can make. However, when your life path has led you on journeys where you’ve been alone without any family at all, you learn how to become a pro at choosing quality friends who become family. I am blessed that I get to make that choice and that I have quality people in my life that I can count on to fill those shoes. 

But I am also aware that not everyone is so fortunate. Not everyone can escape feeling that they are alone during the holidays. Not everyone can escape the toll that the passing of loved ones has taken on them. Not everyone can or wants to celebrate during this time. Gatherings during this time is especially difficult for those who suffer from social anxiety. Don’t take it personal if these people don’t come to your gatherings, it has nothing to do with you. If you have people in your life that you know have a hard time during the holidays, check on them. Love them. Be whatever they need.

In a time where you celebrate with your loved ones, remember the ones who may not have anyone. Be inclusive. Extend an invite. They may not necessarily take you up on it, but I promise you that it’s appreciated. The simplest gesture can make a difference and an impact you may never know about. 

As we move into this new month, remember to continue to carry on with an attitude of gratitude. Be kind to others, but most importantly be kind to yourself. Remember that you don’t need to beat yourself up over whatever delicious indulgences you had over Thanksgiving if you celebrated it. Remind yourself that this season isn’t about giving material goods but giving from your heart and spreading love and kindness. 

XOXO,

Chanda

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