Life comes in seasons. Some years are wonderful with few worries and plenty of everything. Others are leaner, more troublesome, and, sometimes, just plain sad. In the good years, the holidays are a lot of fun, but during the sad times, we may not enjoy Christmas all that much, and that’s okay.
There’s a lot of pressure put on us by media and society alike to put on a smile be 'merry and bright' during the holidays. We’re magically supposed to be in a good mood at Christmas, no matter what’s going on in our lives or around us. Yes, you should hide your pain and sorrow and smile through the tears for your kids and grandkids. Of course you don’t want to ruin Christmas for those around you. But let’s face it, sometimes life sucks and when it happens around Christmas, it can be hard to put on a show of good cheer.
There’s nothing wrong with being sad around the holidays. If you’re recently lost a loved one and are facing your first Christmas without them, it’s perfectly normal and healthy to be sad. You miss them, and not being able to share such a wonderful time of the year with this special person makes it harder to feel joy and happiness. When something does put a smile on your face, you may even feel guilty.
Maybe you're on a tighter budget now that you've retired and can’t give your grandkids the gifts they’ve been asking Santa for. Maybe a relationship fell apart and you’re still trying to figure out what your life will look like, going forward. Lots of different things can happen that will take a lot of the joy out of Christmas. And that’s okay.
Despite the picture TV shows, movies, and Christmas stories paint, our troubles don’t magically go away come Christmas Eve. We're still grieving, broke, and feeling lost. And that’s okay. Life isn’t always perfect. It’s messy, complicated, sad, and sometimes, let's face it - it just plain sucks – even at Christmas.
My best advice when you’re having a tough time during the holidays is this...
Don’t feel pressured to put yourself in a good mood. Don’t expect to feel better all of a sudden. Get through the holidays the best you can. Do what you need to do for the little ones, and then go and have a good cry. Be mad, be sad, or be cranky. Feel what you need to feel to get through this hard period in life.
But also remember this...
Things will look up and there are many happy days and happy Christmases ahead. Remember the good times and know in your heart that better times are yet to come.