Understanding the holidays and happiness

As children we are bombarded with the notion we should be happy at the holidays. When that doesn’t happen we wonder where we went wrong. That situation is magnified as parents age, their sense of happiness changes and it can be difficult to understand.

Let’s consider the losses physically, and materially that most older adults have sustained. While it may have been fun to stay up late and open gifts that no longer meets the needs of an older adult who likes to adhere to a schedule to be in bed by 9.

As children of older adults it is wise to consider the holidays from their perspective. Many of the old traditions don’t work for them anymore, perhaps it has nothing to do with happiness and everything to do with coping and reality. I am tired I want to rest, loud noise bothers me and the kids are too loud, I like to eat on time or I don’t feel well so I want to keep meal times the same, I have everything I need so don’t buy me any gifts! Adult children have heard it all and sometimes if you let it get to you it hurts. But try to look at it this way, your parent is probably being honest, and not trying to be hurtful so it is time to agree on new traditions and working at understanding.