“It’s the holiday season,” as the song goes. From Halloween to New Year’s Day, there are a lot of activities that individuals and families can get involved in—as well as be overwhelmed by. I feel that way at times, and it’s hard to not get caught up in all the festivities, sales, gifts, etc. This appears to be the most profitable time of year for stores, both walk-in and online.
With all the activities going on this time of year, the season may be joyous, but it can also pull apart families. The season is all about spending time with the ones you love. Yes, for those who believe in God, He is definitely is the reason for the season. He also can help a person be centered, but that is not the total point of this article.
How can a person be centered when stores are crying out: “Sales!” “Buy Me!” “Take 50% off plus ANOTHER 20% at the register!” You get the picture. It can be very difficult, and if you are not watching out, you can end up being so tired and end up spending so much money (Visa and Mastercard will love that!) on so many gifts to so many family, all spread out, that it can really impact your holiday spirit.
Here are some ideas that can help you stay centered through the holiday season:
- Write down information. This helps a lot! Yes, I write down things, and yes, there are times when “extra” things get bought even when they were not on the list. I personally need to work on that, but I love the CHRISTmas season! I still need to watch myself and not get caught up in the “hustle and bustle” unless I’m dancing to Jingle Bell Rock with my son.
- Set aside nights to relax. When we don’t make a point to sit down and relax, we can end up being so far out of touch that we can become Scrooge. Relaxing helps us stay focused on why the holidays are being celebrated.
- Make homemade gifts. This is a great idea because it shows the person the time and effort that you put into the gift. Yes, you can still buy a gift for a particular person that focuses on his or her likes and interests, but a personal gift gives an extra touch. It also helps you remember your connection with that person and create more memories.
- Singing. Sometimes we get so caught up in our thoughts and feelings that we forget to have joy, peace, and love for our fellow man and woman.
Life in and of itself has a lot of promises, fun, adventure, and heartaches. The holidays are merry and bright, but when tragedy happens it can be difficult to have hope when everyone else is singing and having fun.
Seventeen years ago, my dad died. He loved Christmas and made it a lot of fun. I am not as sad as I was the first Christmas after he passed, and over time my feelings turned from heartbreak to remembering all the memories I made with him and a little bit of sadness. With my son, I plan to make Christmas as grand as my dad did for me.
Some have recently lost someone, a job, a house, or are experiencing the anniversary of a loss. How can they have joy or hope?
- Listen. A person who has lost may just want to talk, share, or cry, and maybe does not have the support he or she did when the lost happened.
- Reconnect. It may be difficult to connect with someone who has lost if you do not know where he or she is. If you do, or still have address/phone records, send the person a message. The holidays are about rekindling relationships (of course, there are some that may not need to be rekindled, for a variety of reasons). Recalling memories may help the person’s pain to feel a little bit less intense.
- Share. Share your hope and joy. It can be difficult, especially when the person does not want to be hopeful or joyful, but it is his or her choice. Respecting feelings during this time is what may help the person through.
There are other things that a person can do to help someone who is experiencing despair around the holidays—and making a “list” is not really it. Remember to spread hope, joy, and love this year. Those seem to be missing more each year, especially after loss.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kelly Sanders, MFT, therapist in Rancho Cucamonga, California
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.