Life comes in seasons. Some years are wonderful with few worries and plenty of everything. Others are leaner, more troublesome, and just plain sad. In the good years, the holidays are a lot of fun, but during the sad times, we may not enjoy Christmas all that much. Sometimes Christmas sucks …and that’s ok.
There’s a lot of pressure put on us by media and society alike to put on a smile be “merry and bright” during the holidays. Social media would lead you to believe that everyone you know has been in full Christmas cheer since November started!
The first decoration goes up we’re magically supposed to be in a good mood on Christmas no matter what’s going on in our lives or around us. But let’s face it, sometimes life sucks and when it happens around Christmas, it’s hard to put on a show of good cheer.
There’s nothing wrong with being sad around the holidays.
Read that again.
Military families often face separation during the holidays. Both the deployed service member and the family left behind feel the heartache of this time apart daily, but missing out on the “most wonderful time of the year” amplifies the heartbreak. While we are thankful for technology like email and Face Time to connect us to our loved ones serving overseas, the family still feels incomplete and it is often hard to muster holiday cheeriness.
For the new military spouse who has never lived away from family, Christmastime can bring about an extreme feeling of homesickness. Missing out on the traditions you grew up and the family you’ve been surrounded by your entire life can make you feel very alone.
If you’re recently lost a loved one and are facing your first Christmas without them, it’s perfectly normal and healthy to be sad. You miss them, and not being able to share in the laughter that comes during this time of year with this special person makes it harder to feel joy and happiness. When something does put a smile on your face, you may even feel guilty.
Maybe you lost your job a few weeks ago or you are a single income family since moving so frequently makes employment a challenge for military spouses, and can’t give your kids the gifts they’ve been asking Santa for.
Maybe a relationship fell apart and you’re still trying to figure out what your life looks like now without that other person in your life.
Lots of different things can happen that will take a lot of the joy out of Christmas. And that’s ok.
Despite the picture painted by TV shows, Hallmark movies, and Christmas stories, our troubles don’t magically go away come Christmas Eve.
We are still grieving, broke, and feeling lost. And that’s ok.
Life isn’t always perfect. It’s messy, complicated, sad, and sometimes just plain sucks – even on Christmas.
My best advice when you’re having a tough time during the holidays is this: Give yourself space.
While of course you don’t want to ruin Christmas for those who are in a season of happiness, don’t expect to feel better all of sudden just because it’s Christmas. Get through the Holidays the best you can. That may mean putting on a brave face for your kids and then going to have a good cry.
Be mad, be sad, or be angry. Feel what you need to feel to get through this hard period in life.
But also remember this. Things will look up and there are many happy days and happy Christmases ahead. Remember the good times and know in your heart that better times are yet to come.
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