When Christmas doesn’t feel merry and bright

Our house was hit hard by the flu that seems to be making its rounds, hence no post last week.  And while I’ve got a few trips and visits to write about still, my mind is in other places so I thought I’d share.

With Jessica’s angelversary and Christmas both approaching, it’s a reflective time for me.  Christmas is a beautiful season, but I know from experience that these short, darker days and the holiday season are SO difficult for many people, sometimes made even harder by the joy we see around us and can’t always feel.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying gifts under the tree and having or wanting something to open… I just feel like at this stage in my life (my age, living abroad, values), there are so many more important things to think about. I’ve been chatting about this with some of my friends and family and we keep coming back to this conversation:

Is this one day worth a month and more of stress and anxiety? How can I get outside of my own head to make this time of year feel better? Do we ‘need’ anything, and if not, why are we stressing about what to buy each other?

Instead of gifts, is this the year to consider some alternatives? Such as…

  • committing to volunteering your time and skills (maybe after the holiday rush)
  • buying gifts for children who otherwise won’t have much
  • buying groceries for a family so they can have a special holiday meal
  • spending time with the elderly, offering conversation, company, and maybe some pampering

I confess, it’s easy to think of things I’d like- but our move in September really showed us how much we’ve accumulated in only ONE year, and how much of it we’ll have to leave behind when the time comes to return to Canada. Life is so much more than things. Go do something fun with someone you love instead of buying them something; make a memory!

I think fellow blogger Kate, over at Wellness Mama, has some great tips and info about experiential gifts instead of giving stuff.

On a more serious note: I don’t offer these suggestions to create even more pressure.  Perhaps the best gift you can give yourself and those you love this season is self-care in the form of seeking help from a mental health professional (I speak from experience).  That gift may be loving yourself the way you deserve to be loved: wholly, and as you are.

I’m sending my love to each of you, and hoping that you find meaning and joy in this season. How do you make the season special? If this is a hard time of year for you and you’d like to share- what helps you feel connected?
Real Life Resources
It can be difficult to reach out if you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, but please reach out.
In Canada: Call 911 at any time, or find a local crisis line at Need Help
In the UK: Samaritans 24 hour talk line 116 123, or Papyrus, aimed at teens and young adults 0800 068 41 41
In Canada: Volunteer Canada.

4 thoughts on “When Christmas doesn’t feel merry and bright

  1. Thank you for sharing sweetie. Our amazing Tammy suggested taking baking to a hospital , police or fire station. We are so blessed. Share the love.


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