Coping with the Holidays

Beautiful mid adult African American mom is standing with her arms crossed with a concerned expression on her face. Her elementary age son and teenage daughter are ignoring her and using gaming device or smart phones in the backround on Christmas Eve. They are sitting on the sofa. A Christmas tree, fireplace and stockings are blurred in the background. Focus is on the mom. She is wearing a green sweater with a red blouse underneath.

The holiday season brings with it delicious foods, beautiful decorations, and the tale of a jolly old fellow who is pulled by reindeer through the night sky to deliver presents to all good little boys and girls. Along with the magic of the holidays, however, comes stressful nights, overspending, and a feeling of loss for those who are no longer with us. Christmas time is not joyous for each individual at all points of the season, but in times of woe there are measures to take to regain some holiday spirit.

One of the best methods to avoid stress and overspending is pre-planning. Planning out what gifts to buy for who and sticking to the list without purchasing superfluous items will help in creating a budget for the holidays and adhering to the set budget. Having certain presents in mind ahead of time will also increase the likelihood of finding the best deal for individual items. For instance, many sales take place during the busy shopping season, and with online shopping, price comparisons are much easier than they used to be. Planning out grocery lists before preparing large meals or party foods for family and friends also helps with creating and sticking to budget. It also eliminates the stressful last minute trips to the store for forgotten items. Pre-planning shopping lists and which holiday parties to attend will aid in maintaining organization during the hectic Christmas season and increase the chance of maintaining some sanity as well.

Another tip to help thrive through the holiday season is learning to say no. The end of the year is busy enough in the workplace, schoolyard, and the anticipation for a new year with new beginnings. The stress of helping with parties and events on top of the normal items can be overwhelming. It is important to learn when and how to say no.

Other than coping with stress brought around by the hustle and bustle of Christmas, some are struggling to cope with the recent or not so recent loss of a loved one. The holidays are easy times to reflect on fond memories with family and friends and cause nostalgia. It is hard not sharing a holiday with someone who once made that same holiday so special. The Mayo Clinic has advice to acknowledge those feelings, “If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.” It is important to take the time necessary to reflect on fond memories and enjoy and share them with others.

The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration, and by sharing our concerns and hesitations for the goings on of the Christmas season with friends and family and by planning the events of the season, the year is surely to conclude on a joyous note.