Inevitably, we all reach an age when the holiday season isn’t always the happiest occasion. Hearing this from me might be especially shocking because Christmas and the holiday season are my favorite parts of the year.
Eventually, we start to lose people and Christmas songs bring tears to our eyes for different reasons. The first Christmas without someone you love is always the hardest. Sometimes it doesn’t get easier but sometimes enough time passes where the music reminds of you the good times again.
I’ve experienced a fair amount of death in my life starting from the age of 13. Then I look at my parents and the amount of family and friends they’ve lost over the years. One after another, over and over again. Holidays are hard because it feels as if the sadness will consume you. You think to yourself, will I ever feel the kind of holiday cheer everyone else seems obsessed with?
Here’s what I know from watching my family and my friends over the years having to deal with death and the holidays:
Look to the children. Never in my life would I say children are the answer to any problem except this one. If you’re feeling sad, if you’re feeling lonely, if you’re depressed: go outside, go to a mall or to a Christmas Village and look at the smiles on all the kids’ faces. Look how incredibly thrilled they are with what’s happening. How excited, how unafraid, how free they are surrounded by holiday decorations and toys and Santa and snow. Their faces, their happiness, it’s contagious and you will be affected. Kids don’t know bitterness; kids don’t know the type of loneliness the rest of us can become accustomed to in life. All they know is how wonderful this time of year is to them. Trust me, they can remind you of what it feels like to be filled to the brink with joy.
I’m twenty six years old and I still act as if I’m 7 when it comes to this time of year. I love snow. I love driving around the neighborhoods and looking at all the decorations. It’s my dream to one day go see the big Christmas tree in New York. I love shopping, wrapping, and giving gifts. Baking cookies with my mom is one of my favorite past times. Yes, I sometimes feel sad because I remember all the people I’ve lost, but luckily I still feel very childlike around this time of year and I can tap into those feelings and help pull myself out of any darkness.
Never, ever forget all those we’ve lost around this time of year. Remember them fully, with love, and if you need to cry about it then by all means, let it out. All I’m suggesting is when you’re done, remind yourself as to why you used to love this time of year. Look at your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends’ kids, whoever and reconnect with the holiday spirit. When you’re pissed off you have to clean snow off your car, remember how happy you used to be when you were a kid and you had a snow day. When someone is rude to you in a store, remind yourself that maybe this time of year is especially hard for them and forgive them.
This time of year is short, though it may not seem it sometimes, it is. And you never know if you and everyone you love will see this time of year again. So why not try to make it the best time of year for yourself and everyone around you?
Be kind. Be childlike. Enjoy every second of the holiday season. And most importantly…
If you’re having a hard time just do one thing: Remember.
Remember those you’ve lost. Remember your past holidays with them. Remember how much you used to love it. Remember, you are not alone.
Remember, this time of year is special, magical.
Let the magic of it overwhelm you.
Have a great holiday season, everyone.