I usually write about how the holiday season offers us an opportunity to connect the past with the present, today I will take a different position. Sometimes honoring our family for some comes as a welcome opportunity, for others it does not. For many the holiday season can be wrought with conflicting emotions and memories, making the season as a whole very uncomfortable and upsetting. There is a solution. We can make our own decisions on how to celebrate these feasts. We do not need to feel the obligation to celebrate as we have in the past. Many people do, even if they tend towards a traditional attitude. Every feast day is different from the last by the simple fact that every day comes with its own special circumstances. No two days are ever the same, and so no two holidays are the ever the same. If you find yourself with conflicting emotions and unpleasant memories, take this opportunity to have the holiday as you see fit. There really are no rules, and if you need to heal from memories and emotions that haunt you, set yourself free from the bondage of replacing these with new memories. All that is required to celebrate any holiday is a joyful heart. When we become adults, we are free to decide how and why we celebrate. It is up to you how you arrive at that point. The past need not enslave you. If that means you do not see your family, then do not see your family. If it means you do not decorate, do not decorate. If it means that celebrating in the quiet of your own home by yourself, be the best guest in your own home. Some of us take pleasure in keeping pleasant memories alive in the holiday season. Some of us do not, and that is just fine. Take a moment to yourself to decide what will give you the most joy this season and discard the rest. Make joy the true tradition.