Flipping Off the Holidays: A Cautionary Rant

Most wonderful time of the year? I don’t think so!

Most triggering time of the year, more likely.

If you are over the age of six and have figured out that Santa was a hoax, the thrill is gone.

It’s early December and I have already had several teary phone calls with friends and clients about this season of unrealistic expectations.

Seriously, wake me up on January 5 when we all go back to work and forget about this happy horse poop. I am done with the whole thing – and the onslaught has just started.

Actually, it starts in August now. This is insanity. It should be illegal to advertise for Christmas before Thanksgiving is over. Can we stop the madness?

My friend and licensed therapist Rich Gallagher, LMFT said that as a therapist, “Our job this time of year is to push everyone into January as quickly as possible.”

So, my holiday wish isn’t so unusual…

Not to throw water on the Yule log, but suicides skyrocket this time of year, as do deaths by natural causes.

This crapiness is amplified if you are experiencing any of the following, which many of us are:

You’ve recently lost someone

Every family has traditions around the holidays. Even if you reject them, you’ll be remembering them this time of year.

If you have recently lost a loved one, your first holiday season can be brutal.

You’re single (and don’t want to be)

There is no place to hide from the constant barrage of happy couples, jewelry gift advertisements, engagements, etc.

If you’re single and happy about it, rock on with your bad self.

If you just broke up with someone, my condolences.

If, like me, you’ve gotten dumped TWICE this time of year – once by a man you were engaged to and had already told your boss and your colleagues that you were relocating, let’s grab an in-person or virtual drink together and flip off our exes.

You don’t have – or don’t like – your family

We can’t pick our families. Sometimes they support us emotionally, and sometimes they are toxic and should be avoided.

Or, maybe your family is comprised of generally nice people who are currently engrossed in their own lives and families and don’t bother to reach out to you. That sucks. Sorry…

I know a handful of people who genuinely enjoy their family and look forward to getting together with them.

If that’s you, I hope you know you are incredibly lucky and are definitely not in the majority.

The rest of us might have to set boundaries, grit our teeth, meditate in our car before we walk in the door, or have an extra cocktail or two.

You do whatever you have to do to get through it. I’m not here to judge.

You’re broke

Financial pressures can reach a boiling point if you have gifts to buy and have bills you are struggling to pay.

I have seen parents pile on debt because they want their kids to have a nice holiday when they really couldn’t afford it.

(Please note: experiences last longer than things and make better memories. Doing things together doesn’t have to cost a lot, and can feed your soul without breaking the bank.)

You just got laid off

I think there will be an avalanche of pink slips this holiday season. If you’re lucky, you will be notified soon. And while this will tank your holiday joy, at least you won’t go into extra debt buying yourself or others lavish gifts. And, you may have time to cancel that vacation.

Try to tell people in advance this is not a topic for discussion at a family gathering. The fear mongering and truly terrible advice you will receive is exactly what you don’t need at this time.

But, here is a request to all of you, whatever your situation might be. PLEASE don’t assume that someone loves this time of year.

And please don’t probe deeply if someone seems unwilling to talk about their family or their holiday plans. There’s probably a good reason for it, and it’s unkind to trigger them.

Speaking of triggering people, can we all just agree to be extra kind to ourselves and to others through year-end?

With so many people struggling, please choose kindness whenever you can. It might mean the world to someone.

And, if you’re having a hard time, reach out to me, or join the conversation at The Depression Discussions™ on Facebook.

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