The holiday season for many is the most wonderful time of the year marked by friends and family gatherings, holiday parties, smiling faces of shoppers at stores, and young children in awe of the magic of the season. However, the holiday season for many is a time of the deepest loneliness and this season can be brutal.
Many will remember the Charlie Brown Christmas song “Christmas Time is Here” by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi. You can almost hear the song and sing along while reading the lyrics that go:
“Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year”
The thing about this song is that it is sung in a melodious melancholy tone that many can attribute to the line that Charlie Brown states, “I think there must be something wrong with me. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I might be getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”
Many individuals can relate to what Charlie Brown is saying. There is great pressure to feel a certain way around the holidays. It is as if suddenly the loved one you lost and your grieving needs to stop because trees are being decorated.
Perhaps your marriage is falling apart or the topic of divorce has come up. You may feel that you are to smile through your pain for you cannot bring up that topic with your children or extended family. You may be placing pressure on yourself to make the holiday extra special as it may be your last time together as a family and you are wanting to hold on to this last holiday together.
You may be facing a serious illness or a member of your family may be in the hospital but because “It’s a Wonderful Life” is on TV you are supposed to stop and remember what you are thankful for. When really all the sadness, loss, pain, anger, frustration, and hurt are real, and that does not just go away because the calendar says it is December.
Unlike what Charlie Brown says, you are allowed to feel the way you are feeling! Let the tears fall. Let yourself be sad. Let yourself be mad. Let yourself feel all the feelings you are having.
This holiday season honor where you are in your emotional process. Don’t decorate a tree or hang lights, or bake cookies, or any of it if you are not feeling up to it. I want to encourage you to take care of yourself, whatever that means for you.
Tools for your Christmas Toolbox:
As this season highly emphasizes friends and family, please find one friend of family member that you feel that you can talk to. It may be difficult to find someone and if that is the challenge for you, please reach out for a therapy consultation. Therapy helps, and may be just what you are needing in your life right now.
Practice self care: take a bath, take a hot shower, listen to music, read, exercise. Find time just for yourself, even 10 to 15 minutes can be so helpful to recharge yourself.
Jenny Wegner, MS, MFT
To contact Jenny or to make an appointment: