This I Have Learned…The holidays under wraps

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

The holidays – under wraps!

December…perhaps the most hectic month of the year. It’s not surprising that people experience the most stress during the month. Still – even though we see it coming – we buy into the holiday rush of meeting deadlines. Conversely, and not in a bad way, the month of December serves as an opportunity for the symbiosis of well-wishing, good feelings, and caring-ness. What other month can make “claim” to this personal transformation? The fact is, December transports us to another worldliness feeling. We feel immersed in the magic of the season – we love it to come, we love to experience it. And, frankly, we are happy when it’s over!

But, throughout the duration, we are on-board with all of the trappings that come with the season – to wit: attending parties, attending concerts, volunteering for not-for-profits, going to special dinners, attending religious events, buying presents, wrapping and mailing presents, donating to those in need, writing and sending cards, baking traditional recipes, having family visit, visiting family, and reminiscing with family and friends!

But not everyone enjoys the holiday season. This simple statement from Charlie Brown reflects how many people feel as the holidays approach:

“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”

Many factors contribute to a feeling of sadness during the holidays; as an example, if someone has lost a loved one during the year, or in past years, it can be difficult to overcome the feeling of emptiness. In addition, the abject commercialism during the otherwise religious season leaves people feeling sad, as they try to find a deeper meaning in the holidays.

Also, according to psychologist Anita Sanz, “Depression tends to increase during the holidays due to an increase in demands (perceived as stressful), family issues, and being unable to manage expectations.”

In order to prevent holiday stress and depression the Mayo Clinic recommends that people should: Acknowledge your feelings; reach out; be realistic; set aside differences; stick to a budget; plan ahead; learn to say no; try not to abandon healthy habits; take a breather; seek professional help if you need it.

For more information on the topic of depression/sadness during the holidays go to the Mayo Clinic website:

This I Have Learned…

Enjoy all the wrappings of the season!