“Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The holiday season invokes different feelings for those at different places in their lives. For lucky children, it’s the magic of Christmas morning. For young people it’s festivity and time with their friends. For families, it’s a chance to come together one final time for the year. And if Christmas is family, one might say New Year’s is a kiss at midnight with a partner and looking forward to the future hand in hand.
But many are away from home for the holidays, some are struggling with broken relationships and others have lost loved ones. The holidays are a time that tends to urge, one might even say pressure, people to be together. They encourage so much cheer that too often we get so caught up in listening to carols, wrapping gifts and decorating that we forget those who may not be so happy this time of year. Almost ironically, the season meant to bring joy can leave many people feeling left out, lonely and depressed.
But to call these people holiday grouches for not joining in on the holiday fun is to miss the spirit of the season altogether. A little sympathy for those experiencing a very different set of emotions at Christmas can go a long way. Even extending an invitation to someone on their own for the holidays could be a helpful reminder that there are many ways to be together with others.
For those having a Blue Christmas, there may be a few things that can be done to make your Christmas even a little better. For example, giving to those in need, sharing with those who have less than you, or just spending time with lonely people won’t just brighten their days, but also yours. You may even consider forgetting tradition altogether this holiday season and doing things that won’t remind you of your seasonal gloom. Travel, explore, take an exotic vacation, rest, re-charge, self-reflect or simply do things that you like.
There is certainly more to the holidays than what is typically sold to us in cheesy holiday movies. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with being alone. Too much of the low feelings experienced at Christmas come from the shame of finding oneself alone. Embrace it. There is much to gain from being in one’s own company and looking forward to an independent New Year.