By Tanya Glover
While many songs will impress upon us that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, this is not the case for some people. For some people, the holidays are a source of stress, sadness and overall depression. Getting though the holidays when you feel like this can be a difficult task, especially when it seems that everyone around you is happy and excited.
What Causes Holiday Blues?
There are many things that can make the holidays a sad time for a person.
· Family death
· Family being far away
These are just a few reasons for holiday depression. Each person is different and has different reasons for feeling down during what is supposed to be the most festive time of the year.
Spend, Spend, Spend
For many, the major theme for the holidays is spending. When we have children this cannot be avoided. The little ones want Santa to bring them many things and they eagerly await Christmas morning and the presents they are expecting to find under the Christmas tree. This can be very hard for a family whose financial situation is bleak. For a parent, it is heartbreaking to know that you cannot afford to get your child presents for Christmas. Even if you can afford to get one or two gifts, it is still hard knowing that their friends will get much more then they will. Parents do not ever want their children to feel slighted by Santa, a figure who they are told love all of them equally. How to do you explain to a child why Santa only brought them a small toy and a sweater when the little boy down the road got a go-cart and a video game system? So, what can you do? While there is no perfect answer here, I have found one option to be effective. While you can still allow your child to believe in Santa you can also let them know that you work with Santa to get their presents. Only you know what you can afford to do and you can pass this onto your child by telling them that while Santa brings the toys they want for Christmas you have to pay Santa for them. By doing this you are able to sit down with your child and help them make a list of all they want, guiding them to what you can afford to do. Let them know that Santa cannot give them all the things on their list so they should pick out a few things that they really want to have and see what happens. By doing it like this, they understand that you have a part in Santa’s delivery and you have the chance to get those few items that they really want above all else.
Loss of Loved Ones
Ever since my grandparents passed away, the holidays have never been the same and are a source of sadness for me. I imagine that this is a factor for many people during the holidays. For those who have had a loved one pass right near the holiday it can be even worse. Just yesterday a little boy in my town was killed by a car while leaving the town Christmas Parade. Imagine how his parents feel and then know that the holiday season will always be a source of great pain for them from here on out. Loss is never easy and death does not discriminate. The holidays can be a painful reminder of these facts. After you lose someone important in your life, the holidays may never be the same again. There is little you can do about this. However, I was given some advice from a good friend on Thanksgiving of this year. She told me that things will always change and sadness over loss will always linger. However, it does not have to overtake the happiness of the season. Take the time to be thankful for those you do have in your life and make new holiday memories and traditions for your own children to cherish. While this may not have any effect on everyone, it did work on me. It helped me to realize that while I had fond memories of past holidays that I will never again experience, it was my duty to ensure that my children have them as well. This has helped me to put things in better perspective and allow me to feel a bit more lighthearted then I previously did.
Far Away Family
Another issue that many people deal with around the holidays is not being able to go home and be with family. With so many families being scattered around the country, it can be difficult to make it home for Christmas/Hanukkah. Not being able to be with loved ones during a season made for family can be depressing and lonely. With the economy what it is, travel is not always a possibility. It is even more experience than usual around the holidays. Knowing that your family is thinking of you is not always enough but there are other ways of being together on the holidays even if you cannot be in the same house. Technology is a great thing when it comes to communication. On Christmas morning you can place a Skype call to your family and have some face to face time. If nothing will make you happy except making it home, then starting a savings account at the start of the year can be very helpful in making travel possible. Put it in a Christmas club account to ensure that you cannot touch it until December.
Help Those in Need of Holiday Cheer
If you know how it feels to have the holiday blues it is a nice idea to reach out to others who are experiencing those same feelings of sadness. If you have a family to spend the holidays with and know someone who does not, invite them to join in the festivities with your family. Doing so would mean so much to someone who is sad and alone. If you are alone on the holidays, reach out to others that are alone as well. You can all have your own special day together. Talking about the reason for your sadness with people who understand it can be very helpful in lifting your spirits. Plus, by doing this you may have started a new holiday tradition!
Though the holidays may be a source of pain, it does not have to be incurred alone. Feelings of sadness during the holiday season are very common and there are many who feel your pain and are willing to share their own with you. Reach out to your family and friend and even to strangers. You may be surprised at how much happier you can feel by unburdening yourself and finding a silver lining. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all of my readers. May this holiday pass with love and joy filling your hearts, memories of holidays past and the beginning of new traditions.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.