Lessons for Living        
Lesson Five: "Holiday Blues."


The Holidays bring normal ups and downs.




Welcome to Lessons for Living. Common sense information to make life go better.

Today’s lesson is on "The Holiday Blues."

Holidays can be difficult times. They are meant to bring joy and celebration but sometimes bring sadness and despair. Changes in life such as being separated from family and friends or living through the grief of a loss can be hard. While this is true of any holiday, it is especially true of the Thanksgiving to Christmas season.

Holiday Blues are primarily caused by expectation and comparison along with a lack of planning and action.

We have high expectations for the holidays. We often hope that they will make up for a year gone wrong. We expect family members to become friendly, season’s greetings to be sent, gifts to be given, and happiness to reign. The mass media through news stories, TV specials, and advertising raise this hope for "what may be." The reality of "what is" often falls short of the expectation and there is disappointment. The moment is robbed of its joy.

Also, whatever the holiday does bring is often compared to what used to be and is found lacking. A childhood memory of a special day is hard to recapture. Whenever we engage in comparison we risk losing the joy of what actually is present at the moment. Comparison only creates frustration and more disappointment.

So to have a good holiday, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Don’t get caught up in comparison.

If you are in new circumstances and know that the holidays may be hard then take responsibility. Don’t wait to see what happens. Make something happen. Create the holiday you want by making realistic plans. Get involved and take action.

If you are in a new community be sure you get invited somewhere. Let others know what you need. Or, invite someone to join you in celebration. Find out what the community offers and participate in it. Go to the concerts and parades. Get involved. Volunteer some of your time to others and bring them joy. Help serve a holiday meal at a shelter. Takes gifts to the children’s home.

If dealing with loss of a significant person plan a ritual of remembrance for them and the good times you had. Put out favorite photographs and light a candle before them. Intentionally remember those people not present. Tell fun stories about them. Say a prayer for them at a meal. Bring them into the celebration.

Holidays often bring nostalgia. They have their ups and downs. This is normal. Don’t look for fulfillment of all of your desires. But, also, don’t get caught up in unrealistic expectation and comparison. Accept and enjoy the present moment. With planning and action you can create a good holiday experience for yourself.

1999 Daniel H. Johnston. All Rights Reserved.

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