|Our tree, taken by me lying underneath it.|
For most of us, I dare say, the holidays are a joyful time with family and friends, great food, surprising gifts, and a general warm feeling of happiness.
However, there are a number of people who hate the holidays and I used to be one of them. There are so many wonderful posts about the great times, but I wanted to acknowledge those for whom this time of year can be dreaded, difficult, and hard.
When I was in the military, Christmas didn't mean all that much. No tree, no family, no gifts -- just another day. I'd always volunteer for day duty so those who had their families with them could celebrate. I have religious beliefs that make Christmas meaningful, but the loneliness was like a heavy fog.
Then when I was 30, I pretty much hit rock bottom in my life. I spent the worst Christmas ever alone in my house. I think I spent a lot of it in bed. But the desire to be a part of a celebration was horribly painful.
Some of you have lost loved ones. Some of you may not be able to see family. Some of you may dread this holiday more than going to the dentist for a root canal.
I understand all of this.
To counteract these feelings surrounding the holiday, consider trying some of these things:
** Sounds trite, but volunteer in a soup kitchen or hospital. I've been dirt poor, both financially and emotionally, and connecting with those who came to the kitchen or those in hospital was uplifting all the way around.
** Do Pay-It-Forwards for strangers -- buy them a cup of coffee if they're behind you in line, hand a card to a stranger, things like that.
** Drive around and look at the lights. That has always made me happy. Be sure to take a cup of hot chocolate with you!
** Do at least one good thing for yourself. Buy yourself a gift -- a longed-for book, a decadent box of chocolates, a movie -- and enjoy every bit of it yourself, smiling the entire time.
** Email me. Because I get it. I've been on both sides of the fence. (***Edited-- I do mean this. This post was written in 2011, but it's 2012 and I'm still getting emails, and I WILL answer them.)
I write an open, sometimes raw blog. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's like this -- introspective and possibly depressing. But I'm trying to change the depressing to an open invitation to celebrate with me. I want to make your holiday a better one.
I'm not trying to be narcissistic or Mother Teresa, thinking I can cure all ills. I'm just hoping that someone who's having a rough holiday will see this and know they're not alone. I would have given anything for that in past years.
Lots of love, respect, and care to you.