What Comes to Mind When You Think About the Holidays?

What comes to mind?… when you think about the holidays.

I was shocked and I have to admit a little disappointed in my one word response to that question when it was poised to me.


Hectic, really?

What happened to the sheer joy of the holidays that I used to feel as a child and young man? Where did those feelings go? Now don’t get me completely wrong, I still can find some joy in the holidays and I’m lucky because being around my family on both sides is pretty much always a great thing with positive energy almost all the time. I say positive almost all the time because we are a family, not robots.

The sure joy you would have as a kid for Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas was palpable. Now candy, good food and presents are always something that can bring a kid joy and even us older folks. But there was also and underlying theme at least in my home… love. It was about coming together to catch up and share with our family and friends and give thanks. There was something very comforting in that.

Fast-forward to now ,I have a wife, three children (two teenagers), a job (a good thing), a mortgage, bills, responsibility etc. and the responsibility of creating the holiday experience for them.

Here are some of the “hectic” things I have to think about when planning out the holidays:

  • When am I going to find the time, to put up all the decorations, get the needed supplies of candy, food, presents.
  • How much am I going to spend, how much can I afford?
  • Where am I going, who am I going to disappoint for not being there.
  •  The list just goes on and on doesn’t it. I have a strange feeling I’m not the only one that can have these stresses and anxieties.

What I have found helps me at this time of year is to do my best to have an “attitude of gratitude and thanks” I know this is always easier said then done, but when I take the time to do so it always puts things in perspective for me. Instead of stressing about who I will disappoint, I relish that I have the options I have, many people do not. Instead of stressing about the money I will be spending on all of the gifts, I thank the stars that I have wonderful, healthy children to get candy and presents for as well as friends and family to break bread with – again, many people do not.

So I do my best to slow down, enjoy the moment and bring a-little-kid-sparkle back into the holidays. Am I successful 100% of the time… no, but enough to allow me to enjoy. I thought I would never be able to duplicate that feeling of seeing my new Schwinn Stingray under the tree and maybe I cannot, but seeing the smile on my children’s faces when they are living in that moment comes pretty darn close.

The holidays can bring up a lot of sadness, loneliness and anxiety in a lot of people. I sometimes am one of those people, even as a funeral director I’m not immune. However I’m also one of the very fortunate ones that can take a step back and acknowledge the good and all I have to be thankful for, even through this very hectic and all consuming time we call the holidays. So be the grateful one if at all possible and if only for a moment you may be brought back to that magical time of holidays past.

  • When you are down, what is on your list that you are grateful for that can make you appreciate the moment and what you have?
  • What are your fondest child hood memories of Halloween, Thanksgiving and/or Christmas?
Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Carrie,
    Thanks for sharing your past holiday experiences with us, it does bring back some fond memories doesn’t it. I know that the holidays can also conjure up some not so fond memories as well. That is the ying and yang of almost all of lives experiences isn’t it. I try my best to stay positive and allow moments past to be just that and attempt to understand that I cannot control the future. Doing what we do we see on a daily basis how ones live can change on a dime, so love, live and laughs as much as possible. I appreciate you and our relationship, I also learn form you and love that you have such a big heart for all you come in contact with.

  2. Carrie Bayer says:

    Chuck, you are possibly the most positive person I have ever known. You handle “hectic” with poise & grace- something I strive for but usually fall a bit short on. But, you set an example for me to follow- I watch & learn from you more than you know. The holidays are not a particularly good time for me because I miss my family & can’t be with them as much as I hope to. I have experienced loss during the holidays & that creeps to the forefront when I see the decorations going up around me. But, I have some great memories of holidays past! I will always smile & laugh about the Christmas morning when I got my first pair of roller skates. I was 5 years old & I couldn’t wait to get them on my feet & go full blast down the sidewalk. The reality was that I couldn’t stay upright- I was sprawled out on the ground like a dog on a frozen lake, scrambling to get my legs beneath me just to slip & slide right back onto my face. My grandpa pulled me up by the arms & held my on my feet so I could get the hang of it. And, he did it with my little sister sitting high on his shoulders! I will never forget that time with my grandpa, the kindness he showed me & the time he invested to help me learn. Another fun memory is Thanksgiving 2 years ago when I helped my friends make a turducken (chicken inside a duck inside a turkey)- I put the sweetest baseball stitch on that bird & everyone was surprised at how handy an embalmer at Thanksgiving was. It was a delicious meal! Thank you for sharing you holiday feelings! XOXOX Carrie

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