Often when we think of the holiday season we think of family. But what is family, really? Is it always the people to whom we are related by birth? Is it the people we grew up with? Or is family really an idea that sometimes lives up to our expectations, and sometimes does not? Those expectations can particularly challenging during the holidays.

I am grateful for to my both my immediate family and those I have chosen to call family. I believe that family can consist of the people in our lives who appreciate, include, and respect us, and with whom we share core values. They can be young or old, have similar or very different experiences than our own. They can be an aunt or uncle, a grandmother or grandfather, a cousin, or a group of close friends.
One of my favorite Netflix series is The Queen’s Gambit, in which we follow the main character, an orphan named Beth Harmon. Beth experiences overwhelming hurtles, but finally manages to overcome the destructive behaviors that put her life at risk, when she realizes that her real family is the group of loving and devoted friends who have always been there for her.

Family means different things to different people. A community parent leader recently said, “Family is comfort; it is home. I refuse to limit family to a group or place.” One corporate CEO said, “To me a family is whoever I can depend on for support, to laugh with, to play with, and to share the challenges and rewards of life with.”

This season, let us all remember, and reach out to the people in our lives we think of as family.
Have a great holiday and a happy and healthy new year!