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How Celebrations Reflect Your Values — A Personal Letter

It’s been a busy year. If you’re feeling that everything has seemed more challenging, chaotic and different from how things used to be, you’re not alone.

The beauty of life is that it’s always changing for and around us. We can’t always impose our will and turn back the clock. Not only is it not possible, it’s the opposite of what will truly make us fulfilled and happy. I truly believe that when we are sad, disappointed or heartbroken about a situation, it’s because we’re comparing the past with the present and we wish for what we had.

I know we’re connected online and that I don’t get to see or talk to you personally, but please know there is a collective feeling that bonds us with those near and far, even if we haven’t met face to face. I feel close to each of you.

My family found 2015 to be a challenging year. A divorce in the family a few years ago fractured our once strong family unit. It had a ripple effect that is difficult to describe. There have been hurt feelings, distance between siblings and parents, and all kinds of events — both big and small — that have changed the fabric of the Beyer family. I want the old days back. I want to drive to my Mom and Dad’s house in Orange County with my husband, listening to silly Christmas songs on the way. I want to hug, laugh and talk with my brothers, sisters-in-law, niece and nephew.

Growing up, our house was always fun, and we were the envy of many people who wished they had such a loving and close family. But it’s a different time for all of us.

Although I miss the old days, I have always wanted to do something for Christmas that would be more purposeful, and not just about my needs and wants. Leading up to December, I kept envisioning a holiday where I could be intentional about my giving instead of about my receiving. One of my core values is family. It always has been, it always will be — however, I learned a big lesson this year. Because I was always so nestled in the warm blanket of my own family, I thought family was only about people related to me. I never got a chance to spend Christmas with friends or strangers. I was too busy going home to what was familiar and safe.

But it’s time to try something different. I’ve decided to have the holiday at my house this year. To invite only the people who really needed or wanted to be here.

My parents, a friend who couldn’t get home due to a recent surgery, friends who were at odds with family, and especially those who have no family at all — they are coming to my place. It’s a small collection of people who I know will laugh, talk and hug as though we’re family. I couldn’t be happier, and I’m grinning from ear to ear with excitement and anticipation. Everyone who is arriving at my house wants to be here. There is none of the family entitlement, guilt, drama or internal politics that seem to come with getting together with your blood relatives.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish everyone from my family could be here, but remember, it’s not what is happening, and letting go is an important part of this journey called life. And I want to go one step further and tell you that it’s not just about letting go of expectation, it’s about opening your arms and celebrating what is new and facing you at this time in your life, right now.

So, whether you are alone, with friends or with loved ones this year, decide today that you will celebrate with your values. Create a new awareness with your celebrations, and design your time around what is at your core.

If you haven’t met your life partner yet, don’t wait to start your own tradition: Build it and he/she will come! The holidays do not have to be spent with those related or close. Your time could be spent with a total stranger who needs you, taking the time to give to someone, or opening your home to someone with no plans to celebrate.

Be intentional and purposeful every day of your life and you’ll have all the joy in the world because YOU created your wish list based on your values, not on your wants.

I wish you a beautiful holiday season, and an incredible New Year filled with hope, promise, peace and joy.

Much love to you and those you love,

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