“Friends and family” is a familiar phrase, especially after holiday advertising kicks in every year come November. But not everyone has someone dear to share this manufactured ideal with during the holidays. I remember vividly the year my husband and I were alone for the first time on the U. S. National Day of Gorging. The children were grown and had their own plans, which was a progression we embraced, but suddenly we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Family tradition was interrupted and it seemed weird at first. Recovery, however, was swift when we found a turkey buffet in town and discovered a great tradition that hoards of people already knew. It was a vivid reminder that being together at certain, designated times does not define our love for one another. Being locked into an unwavering tradition doesn’t take into account current circumstances like time off work, finances, family situation, AND desire. Change is constant so re-evaluation seems perfectly logical. Simplifying expectations will make sure the days ahead will have less stress and more pleasure for you. 
  
       Not everyone has family or friends that can or even want to spend time together. Media make it look like everyone is enjoying these heartfelt moments and memories, but real people often feel very alone. All those scenes of family toasting, talking and laughing together only accentuates the aloneness. If you know anyone whose spirits seem to going downward this month or has experienced a major loss this year, maybe you can reach out in some way. If not an invitation, a warm smile goes a long way. I know you’re crazy-busy lately, but feeling alone is magnified when you’re literally bulldozed by that “getting together with friends” message. Making their season better will surely make your season better. Just a little holiday tweak.