Regardless of your current survival or SHTF living situation, it is imperative to maintain a lifestyle as close to “normal” as possible. This includes maintaining regular long time established family traditions such as recognition of birthdays, anniversaries, and yes, even the holiday seasons. A big, big part of survival success is being able to establish and maintain a strong psychological balance.
By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
The mere acts of survival existence whether during short term events like a disruptive storm or even a much more serious scenario that requires long term survival, it is critical to keep your wits about you. Part of this balance includes practicing as many family rituals as possible. This includes celebrating holidays as much as possible.
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This may sound trite or silly to be honoring a holiday like Christmas when you are busy and stressed trying to keep food, water and fire at the ready. However, you may be the most skilled survivalist there is, but if your mind begins to play tricks on you, then this initiates the first crack in the foundation of survival mental health. Celebrating a holiday may help you, your family and or survival team normalize life just a little bit for a little while.
Since it is the Christmas holiday season now, I elected to concentrate on how survivalists or non-gridders can plan just some small things to enjoy this special time of year. Though the treatment of a holiday season can impact us all, it is really essential that family or team members can share some level of special enjoyment this time of year however short lived it may be.
So, you’re likely thinking “Dude, I don’t need no stink’n Christmas to help me to have some joy this time of year.” Well, dude, you may not be the only one trying to get through it all and a little holiday fun is not going to hurt anybody, that is, if it is done right. If you have young children or even teenagers around the survival campfire, or fireplace, then you certainly need to do some things to accommodate their feelings of normalcy this time of year and elsewise as well. I cannot emphasis the psychological benefits yielded by a little holiday cheer.
It’s the Little Things
Whether bugged in or out, there are some simple things to do to celebrate a Christmas holiday. In this process be sure to include everyone in the preparations regardless of how resistant they might be to the assignments. It will be essential to engage everyone.
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Since it is Christmas, the easiest initial thing to do would be to decorate the area where you reside. Don’t count on burning inside or outside lights, as you still want to maintain a high level of security or even a very low profile presentation. If your bug in is in a residential neighborhood, then gauge your activities based on what is going on around you. If your bug out location is more isolated from the outside world, then act accordingly.
None of this precludes the most simple of decorations such as an inside Christmas tree even if it is an artificial version. The issue is to establish a holiday rally point and what better source than getting everyone to contribute to creating and decorating a Christmas tree.
If there are kids in the survival group, get them to craft some original ornaments to adorn the tree. Supplement those with some traditional decorations you may have in storage in the attic or basement. Just seeing some of the old familiar family decorations can have an uplifting effect.
Likewise, put up some bright, colorful decorations around the house, barn, or even the camper or tent. The purpose here is to let everyone know that life goes on and that even during a SHTF situation there is no reason to sink into a depression or to alter the regular timing of seasonal events. You may have to scale back, but there are many positive things that can be done to celebrate the holidays at some level.
Honoring Additional Rituals
You and your group may also be religious or recognize a formal faith or belief. Honor these as well. Hokie? For some just a reading from the Bible or other religious book or document can be a mentally soothing experience. Believe it or not, just the reading of the “Story of Christmas” or the “Night Before Christmas” can be a rewarding reminder of the joy of the season.
Plans can also be made to put together a special holiday meal as well. Maybe your resources are slim, but even so, many things can be done to prepare a delightful dinner to celebrate the blessings you have. Try to include a special sweet, treat, pie or dessert. This is also a good time to think forward about the future and to be thankful for the survival successes you have experienced to date.
Maybe do a round robin sharing of holiday thoughts or appreciations of thankfulness. A lot of families enjoy singing holiday carols or reciting familiar family stories or renditions of past Christmas’, family lore, or like activities.
Some families even like to take a leisure holiday stroll. If your circumstances permit such, then a family walk in the woods might be in order. Such strolls have long been traditional events in Europe. Be creative and thoughtful to include everyone in the group.
Naturally, gifting is a traditional part of the Christmas holiday season. This does not have to be elaborate, again, since your resources may be limited. Under dire circumstances there may not even be the normal and usual avenue of retail shopping available. In these cases it is time to be creative to share items you already have that others would love to own, or to make small gifts that are unique and special. It is the thought that counts after all.
Any kind of tool, knife, water filter or like object makes a good gift to a prepper-survivalist. Maybe you can spare an extra box of ammo? It could be you have some gear carry items, a backpack or ammo carrier you can offer as a gift. Anything for a shooter, gardener, woodworker, mechanic, or cook would be welcomed.
For the kids pull out some old toys, or stuffed animals that you pigeon holed away somewhere. Now is the time to pull out those extra books, puzzles, games, and clothing items that were socked away just for a SHTF event. When I was a kid, a new coloring book made my day.
So, tis the season coming up now. Just because you are hunkered down or recovering from a natural disaster is no reason to skip the season. Plans to make this holiday season something really special may just turn out to be much more important than you ever thought.