Happy Holidays to you and your families! Whatever holiday you are celebrating.
In my family, traditionally New Year is the biggest holiday.
I spent my childhood in what was then the Soviet Union where Christmas was banned since 1929 so even my parents did not celebrate it. Luckily for me, Christmas trees have been allowed in 1935 as more acceptable “New Year Trees”.
The tree is one of my all-time favorite memories of childhood.
My Dad usually brought it home around Dec 30 (who had time to do this earlier?!). It had to be dragged home so it arrived covered in the abundant Siberian snow. Then it was standing in the hall thawing and as the puddle of water spread on the floor, the magical smell of pine and holiday filled the apartment.
Then my Dad would spend hours trying to make the tree stand upright using a combination of a bucket, rope and multiple wooden sticks (the tree stands were not in the Soviet 5-year plan of industrial production). And then the cat would jump at it at night attracted by the shimmer of the ornaments and knock it over.
But to me as a child, it was all good and magical!
Our childhood memories are the most cherished by us. There is nothing quite like it. This is why blizzards bring me joy like mountains, the Notre Dame or the farm would do to others, the things you grew up with.
This is why we stubbornly celebrate New Year in our family. It takes a lot of craftiness to explain why Grandpa Frost (“Ded Moroz”) brings my kids presents on Jan 1 while many others get it from Santa on Dec 25th. And many others yet get multiple presents for Hanukkah (a major source of jealousy for my son when he was little), and on and on. Thank god to the school break, which assists the cover-up for years until the kids are too old to care!
Maybe your childhood was very different from mine, but maybe it wasn't. Maybe you lit your tree in the middle of the summer or didn’t have a tree at all, maybe your cat was smarter than mine. Our differences make us stronger and more interesting together.
We all cherish these moments and memories all the same. Our past experiences make up who we have become and shape our reality now. We can tap into them when we need some strength or encouragement.
In turn, we share them with our kids and loved ones and create their own “source of force”, which they can carry into their lives and tap into as necessary.
I wish that next year you have the time to be with your families and loved ones and the presence in those moments that you will cherish forever.
P.S. On the picture, it is me in a sled, my usual means of winter transportation, which had to be pulled by one of the parents. It was quite some work to get myself into this fur coat, which was big and thick and made me somewhat immobile, but then it kept me warm.
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Sveta Parilova is a career and leadership coach who partners up with mid-career professionals to help them get rekindled and renewed about their work/career so that they feel less stressed and more joyful at work and at home. She is passionate about supporting people in their search for purpose and meaning in their work and life and is humbled and honored to be part of their journey to a more joyful self. Click here to schedule a Complimentary Discovery Session and learn more!