Seasonal Solidarity - My Imperfect Holiday Confession

Things aren’t always this merry & bright during this time of year.

The Imperfect Boss, an empowering blog I admire, created #TheImperfectHoliday challenge on Instagram in an effort to shine a light on how social media can distort our perceptions of what’s really happening behind those picture perfect photos. I knew instantly I wanted to take part in this campaign, but I had a lot of feelings that couldn't be crammed into an Instagram caption. I suppose that's the curse of being a writer at heart.

Because authenticity is always my #1 goal here, I’m taking this opportunity to be fully transparent with you all; I’m having a hard time this holiday season.

I knew that moving to Ottawa meant being far away from my family & my in-laws. But even after almost 5 years here, the distance always feels greater over the holidays. Especially because this year has been filled with grief. I’ve lost 2 family members as well as my cat, and currently have another loved one in the hospital. I want to be there alongside the rest of my family, but with my recent return to work plus the cost of travel, it just wasn't in the cards this year. Yet I can't help but feel guilty for not being there.

My heart feels heavy when I reminisce about previous Christmases. A lot of the traditions I think of fondly involved my Grandma, who we lost suddenly this past summer. Every year she used to gift my siblings & I new pajamas on Christmas eve. She was a devout Catholic, and though I do not share these same views, I would join her & the rest of my family at church. It's hard not to well up when I hear 'Silent Night' on the radio, because mass always ended with a candlelight singalong of this classic carol. And I know that was always her favourite part.
Of course, we'd always celebrate with the entire extended family on Christmas Day. We would haul out the folding table to accommodate everyone for dinner; which if it wasn't turkey it was takeout Chinese food, to my delight.
Without her, I know this year is going to be different. I'm grieving, and I know my family is too. I'm grateful for all the memories I made with her, but wish there was still time to make more.

Despite all of these feelings, I'm still finding ways to embrace the holidays. Creating memories with my husband & son is lifting my spirits. Knowing that I can continue those cherished traditions, as well as establishing new ones, gives me something to look forward to. And of course, seeing Elliott’s face fill with pure joy over all the sights and sounds of the holidays will always put a smile on my face.

If you’re struggling too, know that you aren’t alone. Surround yourself with those you love; whether you're related or they're your 'chosen family'. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to share how you’re feeling deep down. Solidarity has always benefited my mental health journey, and it may do the same for you.Talk to those you trust and don't be ashamed to ask for help if you need it.

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read this. If you'd like to join me in the #TheImperfectHoliday challenge, you can create a post on Instagram, tag a friend, or browse all the posts under this hashtag to let others have their voices be heard. Let's all shift our focus to support one another.
The holidays are hard, but they don’t have to be.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing Tori and glad you're making new memories!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this, it truly means a lot!


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