There are people who don’t look forward to this time of year – perhaps you’re one of them. The reasons for this are as varied as the people. Some have lost family members and they are just too full of grief to celebrate. Some have bodies wracked with disease and some suffer depression. Others don’t have the family they had always dreamed of having and some have families who are less than nurturing (to put it kindly). For them, this season isn’t a joyous reason to celebrate, it is a reminder of pain.
I wanted to write a list of ideas to help make the season brighter (or at least bearable) so, I went to the experts: YOU! On Facebook, I asked what you all do when this season gets you down. I heard back from people from every walk of life with every kind of reason to greet Christmas with a loud “Bah, Humbug!” And, your answers were profound and witty, filled with pain and filled with tenacity. I share them with you in the hopes that you will find some ideas to help you enjoy this season as well (I’m sharing them in the first person, which is how I received them).
- I read in my daily devotionals and enjoy some quiet time before diving into my day.
- I take a walk to a coffee shop and buy myself a special coffee.
- I work out twice as hard, I find that physical punishment makes the psychological pain go away.
- I listen to Christmas music and play a fireplace video on my laptop.
- I surround myself with loved ones.
- I love hearing funny stories about my husband who has passed away.
- Facebook and texting give me the connections with other people that I need.
- It helps to be honest about my struggles.
- I watch funny movies.
- It helps me to give to others. I participate in food drives and giving trees.
- I bake for my neighbors and co-workers.
- I decorate and put up lights whether I feel like it or not.
- I try to do those things that make me happy.
- I blast my favorite music.
- I remember that I am an introvert and that I need quiet, alone time to recharge.
- I pray for myself and for others who are in need.
- I give gifts to myself: a manicure, massage, haircut, etc.
- I don’t try and replicate my childhood memories, I make new ones.
- I go to a movie on Christmas day.
- We stay in our PJ’s all day and play board games.
- I go to the mall NOT to shop! Instead, I drink cocoa and watch all the bustle around me.
- I make it a point to stay engaged with other people and not to isolate myself.
I hope this list helps you find reasons to smile this holiday season.
I leave you with this thought from Sarah who battles a disease every second of every day:
“I tell myself it is okay that things are not okay at the moment. That Christmas is God’s gift to me, to all of us, in times of darkness and light, and he places no conditions on it, and has no expectations of me. I remind myself that I am still finding the courage to wake up each day, breathe and live, even if living for that day means simply waking up and breathing. Christmas requires nothing more of me; so why am I requiring more of myself? The Christmas gift I try to give to myself is the gift of compassion, the gift of letting guilt go.”
God bless you, dear friends.