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The most wonderful time of the year?

By Nathan Rice

The song says that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I suppose you can make a strong case for that statement. Businesses and organizations have parties, families gather, presents are exchanged, homes and businesses are decorated, and even the stoplights blink a bright red and green. The holidays can be a magical time, but the most wonderful time of the year can be difficult for some.

Some will sit down for a holiday feast but be heartbroken by the empty chair at the table as they recognize once again that someone they love is gone. The constant advertisements of a happy family sitting by a beautifully decorated fireplace will remind some that they live alone and that there will never be a stocking hung by their chimney with care. Some cannot afford to think about presents and celebrations because they are unsure if there will be enough money to pay the rent. Others will spend the season in the hospital, either as patients or staying by the side of someone they cherish. There are many things that can cause emotional distress during the holiday season, and the twinkling lights and decorated trees have a way of highlighting problems and exacerbating things that can already be difficult.

Those who are having a holly jolly Christmas should be considerate of the ones whose days aren’t too merry and bright.

The first step is understanding that the holiday season can be difficult. Often those who are happily bouncing along in the holiday season say things like, “You have to be happy! It’s Christmas!” We should encourage those who are having a hard time around Christmas instead of trying to make them feel as if something is wrong with them.

We could also support them by trying to bring them some Christmas joy. Make some snacks, mix up some hot chocolate, and invite them over to watch their favorite holiday movie. Ask them to join you on a trip to see Christmas lights or visit a local theater for a holiday show. Holiday cheer can be contagious, and you could be just the one to provide a much-needed smile that could help their whole holiday season.

On the other hand, those who are struggling must be willing to accept the help. Hiding until the season is over or being such a Grinch that others do not want to be around you is not healthy. Going to a Christmas event or accepting an invitation to a friend’s Christmas party can be beneficial. There’s no way you’ll have a merry Christmas if you refuse to try.

It’s also important to remember that there are things you can celebrate even when life isn’t easy. Someone close to you may be missing, but the friends and family trying to support you show that you are not alone. The hospital shows that you or your loved one are getting high quality medical care. Personally, I celebrate the birth of my Savior during the holiday season. This means I am able to sing “Joy to the world” no matter what else is happening in my life. Looking for things to celebrate and focusing on what you do have instead of what you do not have can help change your outlook on the season.

Let’s work together this holiday season to make it the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. If we do, perhaps we can all have ourselves a merry little Christmas.

 

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.