Surviving the Holidays – By Sue Jurjevic

Mother and daughter making another memory at the Annual Dough Ornament Workshop

I have been working at the Community Center for quite a while, and know that we are all under a great deal of stress planning for a perfect holiday. I would like to share something I have realized in my personal life, and I’d like to offer you and your family some helpful suggestions or encouragement for enjoying the holidays – not just enduring the holidays!

You may be wondering why I would wait until more than half way through December to offer tips to surviving the holidays.  Actually I am not writing to offer tips for being organized for the holidays, or where to find the best deals, or even tips about quick and easy gift ideas. What I am offering are ideas for surviving the holidays.

As we all know, the holiday season is filled with family traditions. Whether it is decorating the tree, attending parties, baking, gift exchanging, or even attending a special holiday concert. Traditions are fun, a time to bring everyone together, and to pass down from generation to generation activities and stories of past holiday times.

Ending off a festive night with a group photo and hug. 

It is important for our children to have some traditions in their lives; it makes their life more memorable and gives them something to get excited for, look forward to, and brings the families together especially during this very busy time of year.

We also know that life can change in an instant! For some of you 2016 may have been a good year and this is a time of celebration, togetherness, and sharing the joy of the year and all that it held.  Some may have lost a loved one, a family’s dynamics have changed, children have grown, or financial situations have had an impact on your life and family; and you don’t find yourself in a celebrating mood.

Wherever you find yourself during this holiday season, I suggest that you do not get discouraged or bogged down trying to keep up with other people’s traditions. Instead, stop, take a break, and look at your own traditions and plans. Remember why the tradition was started. Was it something you did with the grandparents? Is it something you have done with your children since they were little? Maybe this year you decide to try something new.

Focus on what is important: being with family and friends and the joy that comes with that. If you have a tradition set for the same day each year and you have to change it due to schedules, again the focus is not on when but with whom. Being together is what the holidays are all about. When you make this your central theme, you’ll see that new traditions can begin, or you can continue traditions that you and your family like.

You are never too young to help your family build a gingerbread house at our annual Gingerbread House Workshop.

What I am really saying is that there may be some traditions you may have to change, do differently, and some you may not be able to get to this year. Whatever you decide regarding these traditions, make the most of the ones that you choose!! These will be what the kids remember, and it doesn’t have to cost anything!

For one of my co-workers, watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas almost daily during the month of December is what she loves! And, as her kids are grown and moving out, they stop by to watch and reminisce about their favorite Christmas movie together!

So you see, it doesn’t matter if your traditions are traditional, just try to have fun and enjoy the holiday season! Create new traditions and continue with your favorites! Happy Holidays from all of us here at the Manassas Park Community Center!

Sue Jurjevic is the Senior Recreational Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at

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