Dec. 5 2023 11:14 AM

The holidays look different for farm families, but true joy is in what we have around us.

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Well, in the dairy industry, finding that jolly by the end of year can be a tougher task than usual. So much of the holiday season is wrapped up in emotion.

This year, especially, I know many families across many walks of life that are feeling a pinch in finding the joy. There just isn’t enough left over these days. The want to provide those Christmas gifts and extra goodies just feels more like a burden in tough times.

It’s those times that make you get creative and dig a little deeper to what is truly important and matters. The holiday spirit isn’t the exact presents that are under the tree — I bet most of us hardly remember what gifts we opened every year of our childhood. The holiday spirit is the feeling of the magic, love, warmth, and family that resonates throughout this time.

I know the guilt of farm families can also hang heavy this time of year. Who else must finish chores before getting to open gifts or heading to the family party? But also, who else gets to experience the peace of the barn after those chores are done? There’s a reason Jesus was born in a stable.

I hope this holiday season you can embrace the joys that are within reach. Let the stress and comparison go and focus on what really brings your own family joy. Keep the simple traditions alive, bake the cookies, go for drive and view Christmas lights, blast some holiday music and have a dance party in the barn. This way of life can be so hard, but there are also so many blessings that we are given. May you find the joy in all those little ways that don’t cost a thing.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons who round out the family-run operation as micromanagers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.