It is no myth that the Holiday Season is not a season of joy for many people. For many it is time of struggle and disappointment, only magnified by the fact that not only do a huge percentage of our population enjoy the magical season- so it is seen all around, but that there is also an expectation that everyone is partaking in the joy and happiness-which only adds to the disconnect and sadness. This year, if you are one of the joyous ones, please look around and notice those who are struggling. Here is a list of reasons why people may not feel the Spirit of the Holiday Season.
This may be the first year that they are missing a loved one, who is no longer present to celebrate.
Finances may be so tight that travelling to be with family is not possible.
Finances may be so tight that gift giving, shopping, or decorating are not possible.
Finances or job responsibilities that force one to work the holiday and not be with family celebrating.
This time of year may be a reminder that the family is estranged.
This can be a lonely time of year, if there is nobody to celebrate with.
The holidays bring people together but the get together is often dysfunctional and unpleasant for some families.
The struggle of the first years of marriage and learning how to create new traditions that both people can agree to.
Gift giving...traditions...beliefs differ from one person to another and from one family to another and can cause friction.
New marriages create new traditions for people, but they also interrupt old traditions. Family of origin can feel a sense of loss and grief as their children move on to do their own thing.
The holidays can be so exhausting and take so much energy that the work overtakes the enjoyment and it feels like the holiday was missed.
The let down... the Holidays were once magical and now they don't measure up.
Being pulled between families, either due to a divorce and having to choose which parent...or due to being married and having to choose between yours and theirs.
The weather...sometimes it just doesn't cooperate.
Health...age...sometimes it is hard to enjoy the season when you just don't feel good.
Homelessness and addictions can keep you isolated from the experience or can push them to focus on their struggles and mistakes.
They may not have reason to celebrate a Holiday at this time of year! Not everyone celebrates Channukah and Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Action Step: Pay attention to those around you. Ask and don't assume. Be willing to listen and be present to those who are struggling. That might be the best present you could give...the present of your presence, your time, your kindness, your thoughtfulness, your genuineness...because those are truly honorable attributes that give reason for the season.