It has been 8 months since my dad died. As the holidays approach, I am very aware that this will be my first holiday season without him.

15 years ago, my husband and I, along with my dad, unknowingly started a family tradition: Tree Trimming. The three of us cut down our Christmas tree and decorated it, thus starting a tradition that has continued to this day. Over the years our “Tree Trimming Team” grew from 3 to over 25, and the team included our children, my brothers and their families and various other family members who couldn’t resist the allure of this crazy family holiday!  :o)

This year, Tree Trimming, and all of the holidays, will be different. As I continue to process my emotions, I asked myself, “How would my dad approach the events we face today?” The first words that came to mind were “with optimism!”

Oxford Languages defines optimism as, “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.”

The definition of optimism truly embodies my dad. Whatever the situation, however grim, he was always optimistic about the outcome; he truly believed that all things end well.  His belief in optimism was so strong that he projected his belief by being a long-standing member of Optimist International, and he wore his Optimist pin with pride; the pin that I am now the proud owner of, and which I hold dear.

His unwavering optimism prompted me learn more about the organization that meant so much to him. Below is the Optimist Creed:

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

As I approach the 2020 holiday season, not only am I am going carry those words with me, I am going to wear his pin at Tree Trimming as reminder to myself and my loved ones to continue to live our lives with optimism!

Happy Holidays!