Help for the Holiday Blues

Are You Ready to Recalibrate the Holidays?

Happy Halloween! This is me at Trunk or Treat — our church’s party in the parking lot. It was awesome and I went as Mr. Panda Man. I met this panda compadre and many other cool characters.

As Halloween arrives, so does the holiday season. I’m not going to lie: I love this time of the year. Even with all its excess and hubbub, I just love it. But not everyone feels this way. Some people really struggle with the holidays, especially Christmas. If this sounds like you, or someone you love, help is on the way.

Loving My Actual Christmas

This is the title of a new book by Alex Kuykendall.  In it, she sympathizes with us and invites us to recalibrate the season. I appreciated how Alex seeks to lighten our load and liberate us from undue stress.

Here is what Alex’s book made me think about:

  1. Neither You Nor Your Holidays Need to Be Perfect. I know this, in my head. But it’s easy to put too much pressure on ourselves or our loved ones to get along, to be on time, to come through for us. I want to love my actual Christmas, not a fantasy version of it.
  2. Watch Your Time & Money. Christmas can trigger out of control spending and overbooked schedules. This is easy to fall into and hard to overcome, but we must try. Alex suggests we learn to say “no” in order to carve out space to breathe. Yup. It’s about presence, not presents.
  3. Everyone Should Help Out More. Some of us roll in, plop ourselves down, eat, and go watch football.  Alex gave me a window into my wife’s world. This dear woman does the heavy lifting to make the season bright for us all. I intend to step up my game to lighten her load.
  4. Be Grateful. We and our families need to learn contentment. And, yes, it is a learned thing. It’s not natural to be thankful, it’s natural to complain and demand more. Don’t be that way. Repent and thank God and others for what you do have vs what you don’t have. This isn’t just a holiday thing, but a year-round thing.

Tell Me What You Think

I want to prepare you for the holidays this year. The more proactive you are, the less overwhelmed you will feel. You can help me help you and others by sharing…

  1. What do you love about the holiday season?
  2. What’s hard about it?
  3. In my writing, who can I help and what do they need?

I enjoyed Alex’s book and we are going to make it our guide at church this year. You can get it on Amazon or wherever good books are sold.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Nice post Pastor! I’m so glad we’re heading into the holidays at Celebration with this mindset and helping ourselves strive to love this time of year. I’ve often said that I could handle Christmas coming every two years but maybe I just need to learn how to do it better. Maybe not every part of the holiday season has to happen every year. I loved Alex’s book (and passed on my copy as a “prize” in our Financial Peace class) and look forward to spending more time on this topic together on Sunday mornings. Thanks for keeping Celebration a fun place to do life well.

    • Every two years is an interesting thought. I’m sure you’re not alone in feeling like that. I know a guy who used to fly to the Carribean to snorkel every Christmas — He left his family behind to do it solo. I don’t know if he still does it or if he was actually gone on Christmas morning. I’ll have to ask him next time I see him.

  • I love the holidays, but as an introvert, it also means a lot of people-time and very little time to get work or other projects done without feeling rude. I think a big part of getting through is knowing that it is temporary and that it’s a good thing it’s temporary, but it’s also a sad thing that it’s temporary because this is also when all your friends are home from college and people are in town. It’s like a sabbath from being really busy with work becuase now, for a few short months, you’re busy with people. Like a sabbath, you should lower your personal expectations for getting the to-do list done and enjoy it to the fullest while it’s there.

    • Not being an introvert, I’ve never thought of how seeing friends and family could be too much of a good thing. Or how the holiday means “very little time to get work or other projects done without feeling rude.” I agree that it would be good to lower one’s expectations on getting things done, but never thought of it quite that way before.


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