..don't go cold turkey on the bigger picture!

Oh! The holidays.  They can be a most joyous, wonderous time of the year.  They give us a chance to give thanks, honor our beliefs and partake in bountiful feasts, & celebrations. 

But, isn't it also so obvious a time for so many to feel sad, burdened and dissatisfied.  Throw a divorce in the holiday mix and you may even have grandiose ideas of forgoing the "wonderous" festivities altogether, if not for the kids, mandatory company holiday party (albeit in masks) and Aunt Margaret's pumpkin pie. 

You may know you're not alone in feeling the opposite of what the holidays are supposed to evoke.  Yet, at times, it may seem like nobody really understands what you're experiencing.  You may wonder how you'll be able to adapt this year, then next?  You know things will get better, but somehow, hope for a better tomorrow just doesn't make you feel better this holiday season.  How do you get back to holidays and life as you would want them?

Well, the good and bad of it is that you're not alone in feeling this year's holiday festivities may fall short on expectations.  Many people throughout the nation can empathize regardless if they are going through a difficult, personal situation like divorce or not.  After all, it's a huge disappointment when a nearly century old tradition gets canceled.

Would you rate your holiday pain something like this?

Consider just one "little" event in NYC called the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (originally named the Macy's Christmas Parade) which has been formally cancelled this year due to COVID-19.  Featured in the popular 1947 movie, Miracle on 34th Street, this beloved, live event has been an annual tradition since 1924, formerly only canceled during World War II (1942 - 1944) due to helium and other industrial material shortages.

Yet, as with many things that have been affected due to this pandemic, the show must go on!  Holiday accolades to Macy's and the powers that be, who have instead, come up with a plan for a 2-day event developed for television in place of the typical live parade with marching bands, giant balloons handled by humans and it's typical 3.5 million attendees.

Don't let a little cancellation of the live event stop you

As the saying starts, "When life gives you lemons", a divorce or deadly coronavirus, you, like the multibillion-dollar famous retailer, Macy's, must see past what you don't have, can't do and won't have the opportunity to change in order to find the power in what remains, which in most cases, on the grand scale of things, is far more than what you lack and often fairly obvious.  -though it totally may not appear that way, at first.

The forest for the Christmas trees

Here's a big for instance, while Macy's and NYC could anticipate the loss this year, we can easily infer they recognized a bigger picture in the small picture -  the television.

While the annual parade usually draws well over 3 million people to the streets of Manhattan, it's television viewership consists of an astounding audience of 50 million people.  Instead of just canceling the parade due to this unprecedented situation, they came up with creative solutions to provide, what remains (their bigger audience), a new type of televised version of the celebration.

The 3 hour NBC coverage starts at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker

                                     Spiderman balloon from previous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The event will include those iconic balloons, that according to the New York Post, will be anchored to "specially rigged vehicles".  A Macy's Press Release in September indicated that in addition to the balloons, the holiday, televised event would also have their famous floats, performers and Santa Clause.  

Susan Tercero, executive producer of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was quoted in the Press Release, "..The Macy's Parade is our love letter and gift to the City of New York and the nation.  Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition..."

The event will be spread out over 2-days of recording (broadcast in the 3-hour televised special, expected to remain as the largest holiday broadcast in America, according to Macy's).  The changes to a virtual-only broadcast still required volunteers, but cut down on participants by about 75%, including the high school bands who will not be allowed to participate at all this year, but will be invited next year.

The "Giant Balloon Inflation" will not take place this year and instead of marching the typical 2.5 mile Parade route, the event will be showcased near and within the Herald Square area of Manhattan.  

Face coverings, social distancing and protective wear will safeguard the remaining participants who will be part of the 2-day event instead of participating all together in 1-day.

If you're thinking like we're thinking, "Is this really happening?"

The answer is yes.  But, undoubtedly, your divorce has had a similar, initially negative impact on your life.  Even if your marriage was really terrible, change, immediately following the split, is never easy for anyone, especially around the holidays.  You may feel the crunch in your pocketbook, time with your children, companionship and spousal help with holiday plans. 

Your divorce pain may be comparable to that of the millions of parade goers who feel saddened and/or frustrated by the cancelation of something they most typically rely upon, look forward to and have come to know as a stable part of their holiday season when other parts of their life and holidays may not be so great.

In fact, you may be one of those people suffering the double whammy of both your divorce at a time when COVID-19 pandemic has canceled something that would normally raise you and your family's spirits.  You're most likely thinking life really sucks right now.  And the loss of yet another normal something just makes dealing with this divorce of yours so much harder.

Life, like big business, is sometimes about the numbers

After considering things, we decided to consider, like Macy's, the analytics of this holiday sitcheeashon-   

DMK analogy

Put on your Santa thinking cap and consider your typical expectations for your life & the holidays like the canceled "live parade event" and the "televised event" like your overall life picture.  Most of your life picture (inclusive of your family, your future, your faith) is going to be okay, different and/or tested, but okay.   

You could envision your life picture and the 50 million viewers, as a Christmas tree forest.   Sometimes, we need to take a step back from the up close and personal live event and high expectations we're immersing ourselves in to get a wider perspective of what we have, really need and for which we look forward.

In other words, no Christmas tree is perfect, even the fake ones have some areas we'd like to turn towards the back where nobody can see them.  Yet, when looking out into the distance of a rolling landscape, at the majestic presentation of so many trees, we can see no single flaw.

It's an impressive part of the event, for sure, those 50 million viewers, the forest, in comparison to the typical 3.5 million attendees, the trees.  So, of course we shouldn't just go all cold turkey on happy holidays, happy life, happy self.   

Within such a landscape of spirit and potential, of which we can be certain includes our own tree (imperfections and all), our life and hope that can provide us the inspiration to persevere despite our limitations, setbacks and changes.

But, how do we celebrate the forest, without the trees?


Just like Macy's, you need to get creative a bit.  Find the good parts of what remains and focus on them.  See your life picture inclusive of the holidays, but not wholly focused on them.  Incorporate personal development and life improvement strategies through small course corrections, eventually formalizing a renewed life plan once you gain some traction. 

Ironically, it's usually in the small stuff that adds up to make a big impact on our lives.  It's easy to let that small negative stuff gain more of our attention until we stop looking for the positive stuff altogether.  So, stop gawking at your flaws, other's mistakes and losses you can't recoup.  Focus less on repairing your life and more on improving it.  This is done by adding more good in your life than just dealing with the bad.  

A few ideas to improve your life:

  • Scents of the holidays (pine, pumpkin, spice)
  • Foods and flavors (dishes from childhood that inspire happy memories)
  • Family (the here, the now, the flaws and the beauty of togetherness, as much or as little as we are afforded)
  • Self-improvement (even the smallest improvement or accomplishment generates an uptick in mood)
  • Faith (the true meaning of what we celebrate)
  • Life organization (if life feels like it's leading us, as in we don't feel in control of our life, then take back control with a life plan and get organized)
  • Big dreams (set your life goals about 100% over and above what you think you can achieve and you will never be dissatisfied with the outcome)

Life is never perfect

Look.  In life, nothing is just as we would want it.  There's always someone or something at home, work or community that sheds some pandemic, divorce rain on our holiday parade. 

It's not always easy to see past the "live event", after all it's pretty darn important - it brings us together, it's clear, crisp and includes snow (if we're lucky) like no HDTV can (which should not include snow, if we're lucky). 

But, life and live events shouldn't be considered just where and when the event is anyway.  The live event is where ever you, your family, love and even a little chaos is any day of the year.  It doesn't matter how great the parade is if your miserable.  Let's say this a different way:

It doesn't matter how great the holiday or a live parade is (how much you spend, celebrate or pretend your happy) if you're not happy and the rest of your life is miserable and lacking.  So, focus less on the particular holiday and more on the good parts of your life, what you love, what makes you happy and your holiday will naturally be a better one.

The show must go on, but adjust your lens and zoom out


Take the pressure of your holiday expectations and make the most of the tough situation you're experiencing.  It won't be perfect.  Like New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio said, "It will not be the same parade we're used to..."

Your holidays, this year, will be different.  In fact, they may not be as you hoped.  But, some parts of your experience may provide a new sense of holiday that can renew your spirit and open the door to better, future holidays.


Your divorce will likely make an impact on everything in your life, including seasons like these.  Though there will be differences, the only way your overall life picture is negatively affected is when you fail to adapt to the changes divorce, pandemics, financial loss or other setbacks may impose.

Yes, you want the show to go on as it should, but things are different.  So, roll with it.   That's what a multi-billion dollar giant did!  And you should too!

Your only goal this season should be to find that bigger picture and stay focused on it, this year especially.  Take the pressure off yourself to keep this season status quo and each detail perfect.  We can surmise Macy's might expect a few hit-and-misses with this year's event, but ultimately they anticipate a success that, with the past 96 years since The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade inception, will continue to remain a meaningful and positive annual event. 

So, keep your own holiday lens zoomed out.  Don't let the small negative things get to you, instead, take some small positive steps to improve each and every day, not solely by prescription or method, but by casual intention.  Life is better that way!

When you lose focus

Accept the changes, some temporary, some permanent and when you feel the loss, take a step back and take it all in.  Don't only focus on the here and now, focus on the good stuff in your past, the good parts of yourself, focus on what you want and what your life could be if you achieve your dreams.

Find your bigger audience, your bigger picture, that includes your future.  Don't worry, the holiday's will be part of it and will be better for it.  

As time passes, you'll find your improved normal and you'll be ready to attend your parades and Christmas parties (mask free) and in person!  You'll be able to zoom back in on those parts of your life and celebrations of which you may not be able to focus on this year.  Those happy, joyous feelings will return when you do (just like parade goers).  

Until then, pop the turkey in a preheated 350 degree oven at 8:45 a.m., then grab a cup of hot cocoa, your Snuggie® (for which we have told you a million times over, is a must-have for every divorcee) and a generous piece of Sara Lee's pumpkin pie (if Aunt Margaret was on your ex's side) and tune in on Thanksgiving morning to a different Macy's Thanksgiving Day Virtual Parade!  It's sure to be worth watching.  50 million viewers can't be wrong!


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Editorial IMAGE provided by Pixabay/condi316


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