Holidays

Holidays. The word either excites you or depresses you.

For some people the holidays are joyous occasions for which to hope and plan times of family and friends in the most idyllic of settings. For others the holidays are times of anxiety and depression over unmet expectations and desires for the all perfect mythological dream. 

Something must drive us to the desire for holiday bliss.

There are all those songs…
There are all those ads…
There are all those lights…
There are all those religious images…

There are all those children, who sing, and dance and pageant their way into our dreams of the perfect Christmas, if not for us, at least for them.

The child in most of us wants to have a “most wonderful time of the year” whether it is Christmas, Hanukah or another celebratory time with family and friends.

So what is in our way?

Well there are the expected gifts…
There is the expected time with one or the other family…
There are the children who are split between mother and father…
There are the households who are still mourning the loss of a loved one…
There are the families who are unable to provide food and gifts….
There are those who are empty of many things like love, friends, family even shelter…
There are those who have members in nursing homes with whom there is no way to express the holiday spirit…

So the word EXPECTATION overshadows our holidays in a profound way keeping many from enjoying the simple pleasures of being with others we love.

So what can one do? For starters give some thought to the deepest reason for the holidays. Think about the religious meaning for many of you. Think about the familial possibility of this time together. Think about what is ENOUGH for you and the joy you most want to experience at this time with those whom you love.

A child wants to be delighted by the surprise of presents and the deliciousness of cookies. We adults might take a clue from the children and let the “child within” out enough to experience the surprise and wonder of love that this time of year drives us to want and expect.

Set aside the kind of expectation that is rigid and so fixed that there is no room for surprise or wonder.

Yes, there are many potential disappointments during the holidays but we can adjust our expectations to a more sane and joyful result if we are prepared with openness and flexibility. Too many times we come into the holidays with a preconceived idea that leaves no wiggle room for the unexpected. If we choose to see the times we have for the holidays as times that are adorned with sparkling wonder rather than draped in unfulfilled expectations or demands then there may be greater than any presents awaiting us during this year’s holiday season.

Talking about and sorting through the myriad of disappointments and feelings of failure and frailty may be some things that a therapist can help you with. Knowing what is enough and bringing your expectations into balance with the possibility of joy and happiness during the holidays is always  hopeful.

And……Happy Holidays!