Black Christmas: When "Happy Holidays" Become Sad
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Black Christmas: When "Happy Holidays" Become Sad

Feeling more mopey than merry? You're not the only one.

Black Christmas: When "Happy Holidays" Become Sad

Hot cookies and milk, big bright fir trees strung with lights and tinsel, holiday tunes everywhere you hear! The month of December is bliss for so many people. However, others find it to be little else than a time of sadness and stress (hence the title, since black is more widely known as a color of sadness than blue).People are constantly being reminded how "others have it worse," or "you should be happy, it's the holidays."

This is one of the worst things you can say to people who are already feeling down at themselves around the holidays. Almost nobody who acts miserable around the holidays does so for the same reasons as the notorious Ebenezer Scrooge or the two-sizes-too-small-hearted Grinch (who I honestly feel kind of bad for, all the guy wanted was some peace and quiet).

Holiday stress is bought on by a variety of factors that differ from person to person. The holiday music you so love can be monotonous and aggravating for some folks. Some people may not have enough money for elaborate decorations and presents this season. Others may feel left out because their diets do not allow them to experience all the wonderful treats that the holiday has to offer. There are even some who spend the holidays engulfed in grief for the loss or separation of loved ones. However, one similar theme runs throughout all of it: perfection.

Yep, that's it. We all want our holidays to resemble the movies and Hallmark cards, so we try to pull out all the stops; movies, music, food, clothing, decorations, activities, and of course gifts. Wall Street has all of us brainwashed into believing that a holiday simply can't be a holiday without whatever its corporate executives are trying to market to the public.

This perfection leads to stress and frustration, leading us to believe that one tiny mistake will ruin the entire holiday season. After all that rushes through our minds, we can't help but wonder "Do I have a reason to feel this miserable around the happiest time of year?" The answer?


What you are feeling is not wrong, weird, or crazy in any way. You're hurting, and you have reason to. What you're going through is painful. You're feeling like life is depriving you of things you deserve and should be able to have. How do you deal with it all? Here are a couple of ways:

1. Remember what the Grinch taught us: "'Maybe Christmas' he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more." Being low on money should never deprive you of the Christmas you are worthy of. Your love for people is not connected to the money you spend on them. If you can't afford to give gifts this year, DON'T FEEL OBLIGED TO DO SO. Generosity is not limited to dollars and coins. Instead of buying gifts, give the gift of time. Spend an evening with a friend you haven't seen in a while (often times just being in proximity with others can be worth more than trying to talk). If you're feeling charitable, go to hospitals and shelters to hear people tell their stories. It might seem petty compared to donating a grocery store's worth of canned goods, but it means so much more to these people. Everyone needs someone there to listen.

2. As a Type 1 diabetic, I am well aware of the stigma that comes along with holiday treats and indulgence. Trying to restrict myself at this time of year proved to be futile and I started to have binges in the night during previous years. I'm not in any way, shape, or form an expert on eating, so my sole diet advice to you is this: ask your doctor. He or she will know what is right for you and how you can enjoy your December without jeopardizing your health. It may seem crazy, but that's the job of a doctor.

3. "Oh the music in here is vile, it must cease for just a while. So if you want to remain at ease, QUIET PLEASE, QUIET PLEASE, QUIET PLEASE!" Does this sound like something you'd say? If it is, you're not alone. Stores tend to play Christmas tunes that sell the most product, which is usually the same songs over and over. If the holiday tunes are getting under your skin, switch them out for a few minutes with some music you like. It's okay not to listen to only Christmas music all throughout December, and I often don't. Sometimes when Mariah Carey is ringing in my ear, a little British punk rock does me a world of good. After a few hearings of "I Fought The Law," Christmas music often sounds pleasant again.

4. Grieving during the holidays can be considered Grinch-like behavior for all those merry carolers who poke and prod you to "lighten up." But this is far from true. Missing someone around the holidays is normal, whether through divorce, distance, or death. If you're down in the dumps because your relative passed away, it's okay to turn down a party invite for some time spent alone in tears. You're not being "rude," "ungrateful," or "a party pooper." You're taking time for yourself to heal. If your friend wouldn't be upset by you not showing up for a party due to a cold, he or she has no reason to be upset by you for not showing up due to a bout of grief.

I hope these tips help you out a least a little. For more info on dealing with sadness all year round, check out this YouTube video made by an actor you might recognize from a show all about survival.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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