Are you hurting during the holidays?


At least once every holiday season, I have a meltdown. I sit between the Christmas movies on TV and the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and cry. It seems like everywhere I go everybody is celebrating Christmas with their kids, whether it’s the school holiday pageant, my friends all heading out to be with their children and grandchildren, or those TV shows where everybody is gathered together, young and old, from babies to great-grandparents. Here, it’s just me and the dog. I will be spending Christmas afternoon with a childless friend at his senior citizen mobile home park potluck. That will be nice, but it’s not exactly a Hallmark holiday.
Last week I wrote about getting off our pity pots and joining up with our friends and family with kids to help them and to ease our own grief. I still think it’s a good idea. But let’s be honest. Sometimes we’re just hurting too much to do that sort of thing. We just want to hide under the covers until the holidays are over. Watching other people with their kids is the last thing we want to do.
“It’s just another day,” says my Scrooge-y father, who does no Christmas decorations or other festivities. He just writes a few checks for his kids and calls it Christmas. He never was big on holidays and since Mom died, forget about it. He has children and grandchildren, but he doesn’t do warm, fuzzy relationships.
It’s all about attitude. I plan to make the best of my holidays. I will enjoy the food and friends, the music and colored lights. I will enjoy giving and receiving presents. I will be working my church music job Christmas Eve and Christmas morning—my choice—to keep myself busy. I plan to have fun at that potluck. Will I shed a few tears? Probably.
Dad also likes to say, “It is what it is.”
I don’t want to alienate anyone by getting all religious, but think about what we are celebrating this time of year, whether you’re welcoming the birth of Jesus, celebrating Hanukkah, or enjoying the winter solstice. Whether or not you have children has very little to do with it. Try to see the blessings that you have, even if you’re looking at them through tears. To paraphrase the old Crosby, Stills and Nash song, “Love the ones you’re with.”
And turn off the TV if it makes you cry.
How are you doing this week? Please share in the comments.
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4 thoughts on “Are you hurting during the holidays?

  1. Christmas isn't my best time. And I have kids and grandkids. I just do what I can and take joy in Jesus' s birthday. Church always brings me back to the real reason for the season. Try to relax and enjoy the little things. God Bless!

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  2. December 26th is a joyous day. The sadness I go through during Christmas is dramatically lifted the day after. All we have to do is make it to Boxing Day – the best day of the year! I view Boxing Day as an excellent day to breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate normal life. We can celebrate Christ having been born and get on with our lives. While families are ragged after all the Christmas hoopla, We, the Childless have the space and energy to be our best selves and go forth into the New Year with immense strength and hope.

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  3. oh my goodness – Dec. 26 – that should somehow be recognized as the official “Childfree Day.” My husband and I have struggled to contain our sadness over the holidays, particularly since his brother and our sister-in-law gave birth to 3 children one right after another, while we still struggle. Over the past four years, the holidays have been especially difficult as their family grew and we were expected to unconditionally rejoice… ugh! However, Dec. 26 always came, and we breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated “our Christmas” our way… the two of us, together. We always look forward to it as a way to decompress. I so relate.

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