My siblings and I lost both out parents in the last four years. I'm 45, the youngest of five. Only two of us have children (not me). We are still trying to figure this holiday shit out.
  1. Allow grief
    What we resist, persists. When we acknowledge and honor our sadness over what we've lost, it moves through us more quickly. Create space for the sadness to exist and it won't crowd out all the other feelings.
  2. Allow happiness
    Or something like happiness. It's okay not to miss listening to your mother's high school alma mater's football game broadcast on AM radio or the ritualistic dinner table debates you will never have to bite your tongue through again.
  3. Make the family recipes
    But only the ones you like. Make them only with love and not out of obligation because that's what you always had. Infuse them with the best memories you can.
  4. Consider breaking all the traditions
    And don't force yourself to create new ones right away. It may be years before you get it right, before you get over having celebrated in the same house, with the same people, the same way for 43 years of your life. When you're not trying to fill the void with what was, because it is no longer, that's when you might find where the meaning that will carry you through the rest of your life. At least I fucking hope so.
  5. Shower the people you love with love
    You know, while they're still here. Put yourself at the top of that list.