Wed12132017

Last updateWed, 13 Dec 2017 8am

Features

Home[body] for the Holidays

Home Holidays“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know, where the treetops glisten, and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.”

We all wish for and dream of different things when the holidays roll around, but some simply wish they had family and the ability to enjoy the excitement that comes with the holidays. So, how do the holidays really make us feel?

As the song states, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but the Huffington Post explains the reasons why that is not the case for everyone. For some, the holidays are simply a painful reminder of Christmases past, as well as family that is no longer here.

Throughout the past couple of years, members of my family passed away one by one, most recently being my father. While everyone else excitedly waits for Christmas, I just look forward to it being over.

Dr. Mark Sichel LCSW, author and psychotherapist, states that unrealistic expectations also come into play during the holiday season.

Regardless of whether you have family or not, it is easy to want that picture-perfect white Christmas or New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight. But, when you don’t get that, it can lead to disappointment, anxiety, and even depression.

If the holidays are a dreadful time for you, Sichel suggests being thankful for who and what you do have, as well as remembering that the holidays will pass and they only come once a year.

However, if you do not have family to enjoy the holidays with, or you are estranged from your family, Eleanor Novek Ph.D., professor of communication, suggests creating a sense of family wherever you are. “Celebrate ‘Friendsmas,’ which is like ‘Friendsgiving,” by bringing unrelated people together to create a family-like celebration. This is nice for singles, newcomers, old folks, lonely people of every type. Another way to celebrate is to give to others,” she said.

Soup kitchens and some restaurants host holiday meals for the less fortunate, so you can go volunteer to cook and serve the guests, or even strike up a conversation with them. Something so simple as donating your time could mean the world to someone.

Novek added, “People in hospitals and nursing homes need to be visited and may feel especially forgotten on the holidays. Activities such as these remind us that we are really all one big family.”

The Huffington Post goes on to say that we feel extra down in the dumps during the holiday season by comparing our holidays and lack of family to those of others. Your friend might post a picture of her entire family around the Christmas tree, and you wish that could be you surrounded by family. Or maybe you’ll wish you had that special someone to kiss under the mistletoe when you see other couples doing it.

However, instead of letting all that bring you down, senior communication student, Kayla Cardona, suggests spending the holidays with close friends.

“I know how terrible it is to spend a holiday without family, and although it may be rough, focusing on the positive things that you have going on will certainly help,” she said. Direct your energy towards decorating, holiday shopping, or baking tons of cookies with friends.

 It is also important to remember that your family would want you to be happy. Yes, holidays are meant for family, but that doesn’t mean you should be unhappy on the holidays.

Jillian Young, a senior communication student, agrees with Cardona. “Create your own traditions and plan things with friends because there is a lot to do to get you in the holiday spirit if you just look for it."

She suggests, "You can have holiday movie nights, bake cookies, or just take a walk through your neighborhood and see Christmas lights. No matter what it is, you can always find something to do that makes you get more into the holiday season,” she said.

It is good to keep busy and do what makes you especially happy during the holiday season, and as Dr. Sichel said, remember that the holidays will pass.

Whether you have no family at all or family that doesn’t go all out for the holidays, you can still deck the halls and rock around the Christmas tree.

PHOTO TAKEN by Amber Galati

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