When the Holidays are Less Than Cheery


If you watch commercials or scroll through social media during the holidays, you may think that everyone is happy during the busy season. However, sometimes the holidays are tough, and even miserable, for some people for various reasons.

Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, are going through a tough season or are struggling financially. It’s OK to not be OK, and you need to know and understand that. It’s OK to just go through the motions sometimes.

I know that in my circle, there are family members who will probably always deal with grief. I have a cousin who lost a battle with cancer and an aunt who died from a tragic accident. Yes, moving on with life is essential but remembering a loved one is important and shouldn’t diminish. Grief is a process and during the holidays and special occasions it’s especially hard to know that a loved one isn’t here on earth anymore. 

I don’t want to offer tips on surviving or enduring the holidays because for one, I’m not a licensed counselor. And two, there are a multitude of articles from professionals offering advice and tips. And, if grief or life ever feels too heavy, seeking help is strongly encouraged. It’s not a sign of weakness. In fact, seeking help is a sign of gaining strength.

Yet, despite all the advice and articles, the best way you can deal with moving through the holiday season during a tough time is to figure out how to deal with circumstances in your own healthy way. Everyone deals with difficult times differently whether it’s journaling, professional help, a new hobby, or a combination of remedies. It could even be as simple as meeting a trusted friend for coffee on a regular basis. 

While it’s OK to step back and not need to attend every invite or go to all the fun gatherings, it’s necessary to maintain real community with people. Isolating ourselves only hurts us. We need each other, as scary as it may be, to open up. Especially for introverts like myself.

So, this season, instead of faking a smile, embrace your true season and take baby steps to reconciliation and peace. Understand that by finding reconciliation it’s important to focus on today and not on yesterday. This isn’t saying you forget the past but don’t let your past drive your future.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns and so much more. There are beautiful moments and then there are just plain ugly moments. But if we are wise, we can use the ugly to let us sculpt something beautiful and maybe, just maybe, we will come out stronger like a phoenix rising from the ashes. 

How do you navigate the holidays when dealing with grief?

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Natalie Szrajer
Natalie has lived in South Carolina most of her life after her family moved across the country from California. Growing up in a small, South Carolina town allowed her to appreciate the simple ways of country living. She now resides in Lexington which isn't too far from rural life. She holds a degree in Journalism from USC (Go Gamecocks!) and currently writes for a couple of Lexington publications. After giving birth to twins, she decided staying home was the best option for her family. In addition to identifying with other twin moms, she has also come to know the world of NICU survivors, early intervention and the world of special needs. Aside from being a twin mom, she also enjoys church and growing with God, writing, crafting, walking and a nice cup of tea. She also appreciates and loves learning about different cultures as she is of Asian American descent.


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