When Your Holiday Season is Shaping Up to be Less Than “Norman Rockwell” Like
By Bernadette A. Moyer
“Tis the season!” For some people and some families the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are wonderful and a time for cheer and for celebrations! And for other people it may be a time of dread. Recently I read a social media post that stated “wish I could just fast forward to January” they knew they would struggle with the holidays and with their fractured family.
Sometimes the dread comes from a job loss or an illness or a death in the family. Many adults with children feel extra pressure to provide a “magical holiday” experience for young children on a very tight budget. We see images on television and in our stores of abundance and an expectation that we can and will all afford these celebrations. Truth is some people just can’t do it, they can’t keep up because of their finances or because of their grief.
What we need to remember is that although the holiday season is often dubbed as “the most magical time of the year” this isn’t necessarily the case for every single person. Some people actually suffer from the “holiday blues” and for them this could be the saddest time of the year. Even in families where it appears to be “Norman Rockwell” like, it isn’t always perfect!
I’ve had absolutely great holidays and I have had a few where I just wanted to pull the covers over my head, go to sleep and wake up when it was all over. One year I had no family, no money and was starting all over in my career and at that time I had a little girl that was counting on me to make it special. Another year just months earlier we experienced a child estrange and this could have potentially thrown us all into a holiday funk, but it didn’t.
The first sad Christmas I experienced, I vowed it would never happen again and that year I made food, we went to the first screening of a newly released film playing in a local historic theater. And then by 9:00 in the evening we were snug in our beds. The next day I woke up refreshed and stronger for the experience. That year was the bench mark for what I never wanted to happen again. My heart wasn’t right and I was just so sad.
The year of the recent estrangement we changed all traditional holiday plans and headed to Key West, Florida. According to our son it was “the best Christmas ever!” Christmas day we were sitting on Smathers beach taking in the hot sunny weather. Not at all traditional for a gal born and raised in the Northeast but still a happy holiday spent with my husband and our son!
You can and you will get through the holidays and I am convinced that the sad ones are designed to make us appreciate all the happy ones. I also believe the sad ones serve as a shake-up that it just may be time to try something new and different for the holiday season.
Remember not every person out there is happy and having an easy time of it. Holidays bring about past memories with family and friends. Some for happy memories and some may drive home for us the void left from our lost loved ones.
Tips for Handling the Holidays Alone
- Don’t pressure yourself, go with your own flow!
- Take in the FREE sites, shopping malls and heavily decorated areas may make you feel better.
- Grab a coffee or a meal out, learn to be alone and to be okay with it.
- Churches have all kinds of Bazaars and cookie sells, support them and take home a few treats.
- Volunteer at a hospital, or food kitchen or pet rescue center.
- Go to the public library and stock up on must reads and films to view.
- Write! Write letters, cards, poetry, notes, express yourself!
- Contribute a toy for “Toys for Tots” or other meaningful charity.
- Go see a new movie, a new play or a live concert.
- Gather with friends and family and people that love you!
- Make new traditions and travel.
- Don’t want to be in the public? Pamper yourself.
- Stock your refrigerator with healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Exercise. Walk. Move about.
- Take long hot bubble baths.
- Get your music, books and movies stacked up and ready so that when the holidays arrive you have your entertainment choices at your fingertips.
- Sleep! Often when we are sad and depressed we are lacking proper rest. Give yourself permission to sleep it off.
- Paint a room or engage in a mini home improvement project.
- Do something productive, the end result will make you feel better.
- Make cookies, make food.
- Can’t afford to travel? There are amazing television shows and archived libraries that have travel destinations recorded for viewing, imagine yourself there!
No matter what is going on in your life and what circumstances you find yourself in this holiday season, just know that this too shall pass. Sometimes a down year is just what we need to inspire us for the next year. Not every holiday season is going to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Count your blessings, find gratitude in what you have, focus on what you have now and not on what has been lost and you are sure to find the holidays as peaceful as they can be. And if this is the holiday season that grief prevails, remember that grief can be a gift. You can and you will make it through the holidays …
Grief teaches us many life lessons and tears are the shedding so that the old can be let go and the new may be embraced. After the rain, the sun always returns and so often shines even brighter!
The holidays are coming, so what is your favorite holiday movie? Or your favorite holiday music?
For me, I love the movies; The Holiday and The Family Stone and for the classic movies; Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. And for Christmas music I enjoy Aaron Neville’s version of Such a Night and when Bing Crosby teamed up with David Bowie for Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Remember 2015 is a new year and a chance for all that is good and wonderful, believe!