by Pam Reaves
It is not unreasonable to assume that everyone gets caught up in the hustle and bustle of a holiday celebrated around the world. Notwithstanding the pomp and circumstance of the Christmas Season, there are two distinctive sets of anticipation that are influenced by all of the activity, rituals, decorations, and other expressions associated with the celebrations.
On one hand, there are millions of people who are anticipating the Joy, Peace, and Goodwill that is the spirit of Christmas, while there is another group that is dreading the entire season and all that goes with it.
Just like the spirit of Joy, Peace, and Goodwill that many people anticipate will spread throughout the world during this time of the year, so will the spirit of dread, angst, and depression.
The Christmas Season Is Part of Another Season
The feelings of dread, angst, and depression do not magically appear at Christmas time. The Christmas Season just happens to take place at the time of the year when things have accumulated, are compounded, or when some people feel the full effects of burnout from a hectic year. The end of the year is one of those periods when people are reflective and evaluative.
They may be reflecting back over a period of time when things may not have gone as anticipated or desired throughout the year or throughout their lifetime. They may have set certain goals that have not been achieved.
There may have been financial setbacks that prevent them from celebrating the holidays in the festive manner in which they have in the past. There is the dread of disappointing family members by not being able to purchase gifts, or having the finances to host a huge dinner or holiday party.
Then there are those people who sink into various stages of depression, thinking about loved ones who have passed away.
Broken relationships also haunt some people in the Christmas Season. So once the Christmas Season roles around, those who are dreading the holiday suffer from the weight of all these losses, broken relationships, or never-ending periods of loneliness.
To add salt to a wound that has been festering all year, during the Christmas Holiday Season, the media starts feeding us with a steady stream of imagery depicting happy families caroling through the snow, decorating huge Christmas trees, and showing up on doorsteps with arms full of beautifully wrapped presents.
The promotion of the Christmas Holiday by the media can create some overwhelming feelings for someone who feels that not only has everything gone wrong in his or her life during the course of the year, but now he or she won’t be able to participate in celebrating the Christmas Holiday Season because there are no material possessions or the finances with which to celebrate the Season like marketers would have us to believe is the perfect way to celebrate.
Then, the saddest cases of all are those people who don’t have any good memories (Christmas or otherwise) to celebrate or share. Christmas, for them, is just one more reminder of what they don’t or never have had.
Now the really good news is that if these financial, relational, employment circumstances and feelings of isolation that at face value, appear to be Christmas Season Misfortunes are viewed through a different lens, they could turn out to be the very circumstances that re-direct you to a lifestyle lift.
You will look back and declare that the best Christmas ever was the Christmas that your misfortunes wound up being the catalysts responsible for propelling you into a lifestyle change with results more fulfilling, longer lasting, and more substantive than anything you may lost.
Use the circumstance of limited finances to give loved ones different gifts. These gifts may include: a cake that you baked from your own secret recipe; a framed picture of you and friends or family members at some other event that was really enjoyable, or a photograph capturing a precious childhood memory; a love letter (no — love letters are not always romantic) expressing how much you value your relationship, how much the other individual has enriched your life, or how much you enjoy your time together; an offer to run errands for someone who may be disabled; or coordinate a family get-together where everybody is required to just bring one food item, or their favorite recipe.
Heck, one dozen of eggs can create 24 deviled egg pieces. So the cost of the ingredients is probably less than $10.00, but your family and friends will love your special way of preparing deviled eggs.
New Discoveries in the Christmas Season
By doing these things from the heart, you may discover a new talent or the worth of a talent that you have unconsciously been honing over the years and is now ready for you to apply to a business venture. When the Christmas Holiday Season is over, you will not be included in the group that becomes stressful over the amount of money they spent, or the additional credit card debt they created because you spent little to nothing.
If you are bothered because you can’t participate in some tradition that costs a lot of money, you can create a holiday tradition of getting back to the basics.
Most of us value and love to reminisce over the old days when life was simple, when we may not have had much money, but had plenty of good times, wonderful memories, and received inexpensive gifts and toys that continue to have special meaning to us. By creating a tradition such as this, you are creating a comfortable and treasured environment in which people look forward to spending time.
The mere mention of a “Good Old Fashion Christmas” sounds comforting.
Since life is complicated, schedules are busy, and spending quality time throughout the year is minimal, this back to basics tradition is a wonderful way for a group of close friends and loved ones to close out the year.
If any of your relationships have suffered over the past year (or for years), use the Christmas Holiday Season to extend the olive branch, or if the olive branch is extended to you, take it. No matter how ugly the fight or disagreement was, or who was at fault, people do suffer from the disappointment and heartbreak of a broken relationship.
Our pride may keep us from openly expressing our disappointment about the broken relationship, but inwardly we sulk and grieve because we miss whatever the relationship brought to our lives. As time go by, we can’t even remember what the fight was about, and if we do, time has a way of diminishing the importance of the disagreement.
The feelings of that you may be feeling do not recognize who was right and who was wrong. So if you refuse to let go of these lingering feelings, they will only serve to weaken you emotionally and physically.
Use this opportunity when the distractions of the hustle and bustle are not present in your life (quiet time) to reach out, re-connect and embrace any love lost. If you value harmony, reconciliation with friends and relatives will lift your spirits as you start spending precious time with them based on the heart and not the finances.
If you are dreading the Holiday Season because of feelings of loneliness, do something courageous and selfless like visiting a nursing home, volunteering at a shelter, or participating in a toy drive by handing out toys to disadvantaged children.
Although you may be apprehensive about approaching other people whom you are not familiar with, once you get started in the activity, there will be little to no time for you to focus on your loneliness. If you are involved in any one of these outreach initiatives throughout the Holiday Season, by the time the Season is over, you will be too exhausted to dwell on what you thought was a dismal time of the year.
So much happens when we’re engaged with other people. Trust me, you will find plenty to laugh about when you’re interacting with people who are real characters and do crazy things that make this world a fun place to be in, regardless of life’s challenges. Besides, this stuff will provide you with memories to laugh about throughout the coming year.
See – when you take control of those things that made you dread the Christmas Season, and decided to look at them from a different perspective rather than allowing them to control your happiness, you’ve turned a dreaded Christmas into the Best Christmas Ever. Even better – the Best Christmas Ever can happen every year.
From Sarah: Pam Reaves is an amazing coach, and has a tremendous track record helping clients get healthy and happy human experiences in life and love. We truly want to recommend her coaching and her wonderful, powerful book – “Is It Love…Or Merely a Sick Attachment?” Pam is no-nonsense, and breaks down big, important relationship concepts into direct, straight-shooting, tell-the-hard-truth real help for you (just like her book title). Go here to check out Pam’s coaching and what steps you can take after the Christmas Season…–>>