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The Holidays Are Upon Us: How Are You Doing At Projecting an Image of “Warmth and Welcome?”

The Holidays Are Upon Us: How Are You Doing At Projecting an Image of “Warmth and Welcome?”

By Natalie Caine, M.A.
NABBW’s Empty Nest Expert

Natalie_Caine-180x180Thanksgiving and holiday time brings out the shine, goodies and beauty, as well as my black stretch pants.   I love the holidays for its anticipation, creativity, memories of loved ones, sentiments, and new traditions.

When we travel and gather, like a decorated room, we mix and match.  We move our lives around, like chairs, and hope for comfort and connection.

I know holidays also bring expectations and disappointments from the mundane — like the turkey isn\’t done yet — to the forgotten biscuits and the tasteless gravy.

Mistakes happen.  Tiredness sets in.  Feelings of being unseen.  Weeping for what was.  And, of course, the hope for leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches.

Expectations are part of being human.

You can keep awareness that might sound like this, “Well, that is unrealistic that she is going to…..”.  Or that they will……

You can also ask for what you need in the moment, “Can someone move those chairs and come in the kitchen to dice?

My Question to You Today is, “How Will You Welcome Yourself?”

How will you practice being KIND to yourself during the holidays?

  • Will you ask for help?
  • Will you sit and be?  
  • Will you let go of being right?
  • Will you say goodbye to the perfectionist?
  • Will you listen to YOUR voice within rather than how OTHERS tell you to do or be?

By the way, out of curiosity, who is that “SHOULD VOICE” in your head… your mom, dad, partner, kids, etc?   Are they chatting about how you look, what you wear, what you say, how you cook, the guest room, etc.?

Each gathering is an opportunity for fun and reminding yourself  WHAT REALLY MATTERS in this moment?  You will over eat, as will I.  Will you be kind to yourself about that choice and make a course correction plan?

Will you say, ” I LOVE YOU BECAUSE YOU…” I have noticed over the years that sometimes the chatter in our head is a distraction from connecting.  Have you ever noticed that? What is the gift of being unavailable and available?  You know me, I believe learning comes from taking a peak at both sides.

When I check in with myself during the day and evening, (as in “Hey, Natalie, how are ya doing?”)  I am more often able to be welcoming and warm with myself and others.

I practice being just who I am, even if that is vulnerable, weepy, needy, or ecstatic.

One year, there wasn\’t enough turkey.  Oh my mom wouldn\’t have let that go and I am not her. “I am so sorry. I didn\’t count right. More next year.”  There is always enough potatoes, stuffing, and pie.

Another year, I missed my best friend deeply. I shared that at the table, even though everyone sat there, uncomfortable and silent.  You are who you are for now.  You can make a shift in the moment when you know you won\’t punish yourself for it or care if others aren\’t who you want them to be.

Enjoy this time in your life.  Whether solo or in a gathering, make being thankful fun for you, caring for you.  I know you care for others.  I know you do the best you can.

Just don\’t forget YOU.
  • Light candles.
  • Watch movies.
  • Go for walks.
  • Make art.
  • Sing.
  • Play tennis.
  • Set a seat for fun.

May this holiday season allow you to be just who you are with all your thoughts and feelings.  May you self-care and allow others to be there for you.  May you weep for those not with you.  May you have fun.

Take care,


Natalie Caine M.A.

Life In Transition, What\’s Next?
Empty Nest Support Services
(800) 446-3310 or (310) 454-0040
Los Angeles

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Natalie Caine Founder of Empty Nest Support Services

Natalie Caine is the founder of Empty Nest Support Services. When her daughter was a senior in high school, she realized that as a soon-to-be “empty nester,” she would be undergoing a major life shift. Not wanting to confront this transition alone nor have her many friends face this abyss without strong support, she created a support services group, which quickly grew into a new career and an exciting full-time business.

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