• Susan Mader, MSSW, CPS

The Holidays Are Upon US, so many expectations

Every year on the Holidays I feel suicidal. Because of The Gathering Place celebrations, this year I did not.”

Anonymous

So many expectations during the Holiday season. Something that seems so simple can be so challenging, such as finding the gift, wrapping it up and giving it to someone. It is a season of giving and sometimes giving can be hard. Receiving too.

Oftentimes, it is the gatherings that are so stressful. Whether it be with family or friends. Within families there can be sibling rivalry and broken relationships. There may be divorce in the family. Gatherings with extended families can be overwhelming. Gatherings with a friend or two may be a better option. Some individuals will celebrate the Holiday’s alone.

Holidays may be a time of grieving and remembering a loved one who has passed away.

Members of The Gathering Place do not always have family or friends to celebrate the Holiday's with for whatever reason. Family members may live too far away. Most unfortunate is when those struggling with mental health challenges are not included in family gatherings. At The Gathering Place, we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve in a big way...that is not too overwhelming.

On Wednesday, November 23 we will serve turkey, ham and all the fixings for the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. There is so much food, we never have to turn anyone away. At the Christmas Dinner we serve ham.

Our Christmas party and ham dinner will be held Tuesday, December 20. You may wish to be part of the gift exchange by bringing a wrapped gift of $5 or under to put under our tree. Not to worry if you don’t have a gift to bring...there will be plenty for everybody.

The giving of gifts is special. One year, an individual picked out his gift from under the tree with tears in his eyes. He saved the gift to open it on Christmas Day. It was the only gift he was to receive. We have many heartfelt stories here at The Gathering Place.

Before the opening of gifts, we will play some Holiday games to include trivia. Prizes will be awarded.

Our New Year’s Eve party will be held December 31 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Gathering Place is festive. Our home will be all decked out for the Holiday’s with a tree, lights and ornaments. Garlands are draped above the windows.

Come celebrate the Holiday’s at The Gathering Place with your peers. Give a gift, receive a gift and feel good about it. If you can, bring your homemade Christmas cookies so we have a variety to share. Remember, at The Gathering Place there are no expectations!

—By Susan C. Mader, MSSW, CPS

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