Life Advice



Harriette Reflects On The Holiday Season

Harriette Cole on

DEAR READERS: Merry Christmas! Blessings to each and every one of you at this special time of year. For me, the holiday season has always been a magical time. Starting at Thanksgiving straight through to New Year's Day, my home in Baltimore was filled with music, laughter, delicious food and fellowship. My parents hosted parties and attended numerous black-tie functions night after night. My sisters and I played together and spent time with close friends. My father's birthday, New Year's Day, promised a party the night before. It was fun!

Decades later, we still have our mom, who is 92 years young, and many family traditions remain intact. This year we are grateful that we will be able to come together once again, still using caution. With travel bans lifted and COVID-19 somewhat at bay, we will be able to hug each other once again. Inevitably there will be high and low moments, as that is life. I'm looking forward to all of it. As I think about how my family will spend this day and this period of time together, I think of you. How will you spend this precious time?

The holiday season stirs up all kinds of energy and emotion for people. Nostalgia can bring on tears of joy or sadness. Life's circumstances can lead to feelings of triumph or defeat. Check in with yourself to see where you stand. Where is your heart right now? Are you feeling happy, sad, tender, joyful -- or a combination of all?

I want to encourage you to take care of yourselves. Be mindful of your personal needs as you navigate this special time. Connect with people who affirm you. Choose to see joy and light, even in challenging moments. Remember that you are not your childhood self. Resist the instinct to revert to childhood roles and behaviors. Stay in the present and attend to your needs as you pay attention to your loved ones. Make time for yourself each day to get centered and stay on course.

Pay attention to the elders. I will never forget my maternal grandmother, who loved spending time with us and always made time for herself. She would go into a quiet room and meditate for at least an hour each day, no matter what was going on in the house. I recently observed my husband's mother doing the same thing during a week together for a family wedding. At Thanksgiving I witnessed my mother closing her eyes and just being still while in the swirl of a roomful of noisy people. Those who live long lives typically figure out how to take care of themselves along the way. We can take a lesson from their book.

My dearest friend from home repeats a mantra we claimed years ago: Be conscious and intentional. If we all approach this moment in time with the presence of heart and mind that reminds us that we are precious beings worthy of greatness and capable of engaging joy, compassion, connection and light every day, we can make that manifest in our lives. With conscious intention, we can live in this way continuously. And then the magic of this holy season can fill our spirits every single day. Don't you want that? I do!



(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)






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