When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. I couldn't get enough of the feeling of warmth and joy, and the sights, smells, and tastes of the last two months in the year were better than any other time. It was truly the "most wonderful time of the year," everyone seemed happy and the world seemed peaceful and right for just a small fraction of the year.
Growing older, of course, I realized that wasn't the way that the world was.
Not everyone is happy during the holiday months, and some people even get less happy during the holiday months. Disorders like seasonal affective disorder (SAD), more commonly known as "seasonal depression", really do exist.
But a person does not necessarily have to have this diagnosis to be hurting more through the holidays. And it could be anything, from upsetting memories of past holidays, financial struggles, missing loved ones, to loneliness or just the way that their brains function.
During these times then, it is only increasingly important that we take care in how we interact with others.
It's so important to remember to not take out your anger on strangers. It really is incredibly true that you never know what could be going on in someone else's life, no matter how cliché it is.
Instead, open a door for someone, be forgiving of the car that pulled out in front of you and don't lay on the horn, help a neighbor with shoveling snow or carrying groceries.
Please don't get so caught up in the business of the season that you forget to check in on your loved ones.
Pay attention to if they're struggling and reach out to them. You don't have to purchase material things for everyone to be able to give everyone a gift this holiday season. Listen to people, give a hug when it's needed, be a shoulder to cry on or bring an extra coffee because sometimes you have to reach out in order to be reached out to.
We should be using our 'holly jolly' attitudes to be lights in the lives of those that are hurting.