This morning I jokingly suggested that I should offer a half-price Holiday special. Unload your Holiday stress for only $50. I could offer one session of complaining about your in-laws, or figuring out how to deal with having the whole family in one house. I must admit that I chuckled a little at the idea. And then I realized that, although it’s an unusual idea, it’s not really funny. There are a lot of folks who find the season almost unbearable. Especially those struggling with the loneliness of Christmas without a loved one,
There’s the pressure people feel to make the season perfect. Some see it as a chance to live the life they can’t achieve the rest of the year, with harmony in the family and a clean beautiful home, and gifts they can’t really afford.
And there are the memories of years gone by. It seems you can’t win with them. If you had a mostly happy childhood, then nostalgia and loss can be overwhelming. And if there was abuse or strife or neglect, the resulting traumatic triggers are all connected with the season’s sights and sounds and smells. All of these memories can contribute to a seasonal sadness or anxiety.
And then there is the sense that, as the Grinch learned, “Christmas, perhaps, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Whatever your faith background, it seems that this season of light is closely connected with the bigger values we hold, and with a spiritual meaning we may not pay close attention to in the busyness of the year. We may find ourselves facing existential questions we’d prefer to ignore.
So, I’ve kind of talked myself into the idea of a seasonal special. Do you need someone to talk to before or after the big family dinner? Might I be able to help you get in touch with the joy you want to be experiencing? Give me a call. We’ll meet. Maybe I’ll even bring cookies. You’ll get through this.