How do you really feel about the holidays?
This picture pretty much sums up how I feel about the holidays...LOL!

How do you really feel about the holidays?

How do you really feel about the holidays? I must admit that the period between Thanksgiving and New Years Day is not my favorite time of the year. The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the landscape takes on a dreary, bare look. My mood is always worse in the winter months. And when I’m in a bad mood, everything looks bleak. I find it hard to watch television or read a newspaper without being affected by all the negativity in our fast-moving news cycle.

Like many people, I tend to experience a feeling of sadness during the holidays. Another year is coming to an end, I’m getting older, and I have a few more aches and pains. I reflect on the past and worry about the year to come. It saddens me to think of the people in my family and in my life who are no longer here to spend the holidays with.

Although I now view this time of year in a less favorable light, I can still recall how much I LOVED the holidays when I was a child! There were no pressures and no regrets. It was a time to give and get gifts. I had a break from school. I enjoyed winter activities, like sledding and ice skating. It also seemed like people were nicer to each other. Like most kids, I definitely felt the “magic” of the season!

I started to think… Why can’t I take my childhood enthusiasm and combine it with my adult wisdom to create a better attitude towards this time of year? Thus, I decided to take a break from the things that bring me down, such as the news, and instead revisit my childlike wonder of Christmas. Perhaps I can find a gift that I’m really excited to give, or maybe even one I’m really excited to get! I’ll take time to notice the charitable nature of people this time of year. I’ll be sure to donate to some of my favorite causes.

And most importantly, I’ll remember to celebrate the many blessings in my life. My wife and I are grateful to live near our daughter again! We look forward to celebrating with her and have some family activities planned. We appreciate our new home in Missouri, which is a prefect fit for us! I’m grateful to be healthy and able to enjoy my retirement years.

The holidays are a time for me to take a break from all of my projects. I may be retired, but I definitely keep busy! It’s critical for highly sensitive people to have some down time, as it gives us a chance to recharge our emotional and physical batteries.

Also, I know that dwelling on the past and worrying about the future isn’t productive. It keeps me from being in the here and now. It also has no effect on the outcome of anything and only adds needless stress to my life. Instead, my intention is to focus on the present moment and build upon the things that have gone well for me throughout the year. While there were some disappointments, I trust that those were necessary for my growth, and I’ll do my best to learn from them and move on.

I believe that happiness is a choice. You can choose to enjoy the holidays, as well as the way you conduct your life. It’s all a matter of shifting your focus. This year, I choose to have a childlike attitude of joy and optimism towards the holiday season. No pressure, no regrets, and enjoying every moment that I have. It is my sincere hope that you can do the same.

How do you feel about the holidays? Do you tend to dwell on what you lack rather than on what you have? Do you take the time to appreciate all of the good in your life? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I thank that you are all at once going from happy and content to dismal and negative. All at the same time. That is how our minds work. It is wrong to think that you can be “magically” happy by turning on a switch. Be who you are and do not worry about it but try to find some enjoyment at times and accept that there are real difficulties in life all the time. The holidays have become more important since I moved to North America. I only cared about Sinterklaas, Saint Nicolas, in the old country. Thanksgiving did not exist and Christmas was a joke. Some of this has changed due to commercialization. That is all. What speaks to me most is feelings you have about nature and growing older. Accept it is my answer to that. I love nature by the way in summer as well as winter.

  2. Hi Jan,

    I am sometimes happy and sad at the same time. I find that when I start to get into a negative mindset, I try to shift my attitude towards a more positive state. I have to admit, that it doesn’t work all of the time. I agree that you need to try to find enjoyment and realize that there are real difficulties in life. I’m making a conscious effort to age gracefully and enjoy the seasons.

  3. I do think happiness is a choice. There will always be both positive and negative circumstances in our lives and in our world, but you can decide what to focus more on. However, I do agree that you can’t just flip a switch to make yourself happy. The process is more gradual. We all get in a funk sometimes. A good strategy when you’re feeling down is to reach for a slightly better thought. And once you get there, try once again to reach for another slightly more positive thought, and on and on. It’s kind of like climbing a ladder out of a hole. It also helps to do things like keeping a gratitude journal where you force yourself to write down 5 things that you are grateful for every day. Things like that can really help shift your mindset!

    In this post, it sounds like Cliff is setting himself up to have a better attitude towards the holidays. Intention is very important! I also like that he’s counting his blessings. As I mentioned, gratitude is a powerful tool on the path to happiness. Good luck, Cliff…I hope that you’re able to stick to your “happiness plan” throughout the holiday season and beyond!

  4. Thank you Amy!

    I like how you mentioned the analogy of climbing a ladder out of a hole. I have every intention of climbing the ladder of happiness. LOL I hope that other’s will stick to their “happiness” plan.

  5. No you can’t flip a switch to become happy but you can create thoughts that please you . I create all types of thoughts I really get into it . I get sad sometimes but I find that if I get up and keep moving clean out a drawer cook something I’m much better off thank you for this blog and happy holidays to you all

    1. Hi Pata,

      I also find that any type of action helps me change my attitude/mood. Thank you for your comment. Keep reading and please tell others about my blog. I wish you a Happy and Healthy holiday.

  6. Great article. As a slight HSP with autism and ADD, I love the holidays, but have found some aspects challenging.

    I’m actually happiest in the late autumn/winter…I love the chilly weather, brisk winds, autumn colors and light gray skies and lastly, the beautiful snow.

    I’m the opposite in the seasonal affective aspect in that I feel a bit sad when it’s warm outside, especially during the late spring and summer…for me, the monotonous dark green heavy leaves and the heavy, sticky heat feel dreary to me.

    I thankfully am able to write freelance from my quiet home, so it’s easier for me to create a measure of peace and positive energy in my life.

    For the holidays, I start my holiday shopping in September and complete it by Thanksgiving, so I don’t have to be in those huge crowds during the holiday season.

    I also make sure that I mail all that needs to be mailed by early December, so I’m not standing in huge lines at the post office.

    Often, some people become obnoxious in crowds and huge lines, so I’m glad to stay home during most of December and avoid that.

    Also, it leaves me much more time to enjoy my get-togethers with my large family and my friends without being hurried or stressed with the pressure of too many to-dos.

    I recently spent a leisurely weekend with my aunt celebrating Hanukkah and spent the night at her place and we just enjoyed each other’s company.

    She’s retired and I’m in full control of my working hours, so neither one of us had to deal with any pressures of having to rush off to a workplace early in the morning.

    So, with careful planning, both long and short-term, you can create happiness and peace in your life.

  7. Hi CNJ,
    Thank you for your very insightful thoughts! You gave a great example of how a highly sensitive person can plan (as you mentioned) happiness and peace in both the long and short-term.

    I also want to commend you on your choice of career. It fits your lifestyle and you write beautifully.

    Thanks again for the wonderful examples that you gave us!

    Happy Hanukkah!

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