Many view the Christmas season as a wonderful and joyous time of year filled with decorations, lights, parties, food, and gifts. However, not everyone feels this way about the holidays. While it is a complete myth that suicides increase during the holidays, anxiety and depression do, in fact, increase. I knew my article for today would focus on dealing with holiday depression. However, my research took me in a quite unique direction. I always follow my heart when I look for blog topics and I’m often quite surprised where it takes me.
As I did research for today’s article, I came across an interesting video I’d like to share with you. The video takes an in depth look at the Charles Schultz Christmas special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and how it relates to holiday depression and the meaning of Christmas.
A Charlie Brown Christmas –
Coping with Holiday Depression
The video summarizes the theme and storyline of the show, while showcasing Charlie Brown’s holiday depression and quest for the true meaning of Christmas. Throughout the show, Charlie Brown witnesses his friends and even Snoopy as they succumb to the shallow corporate version of Christmas, such as wanting money/gifts, desiring a showy aluminum tree or big lighting displays. Charlie is saddened by this and searches for a more meaningful holiday. He is tasked by his friends to purchase a tree for the Christmas play and finds what he thinks is the perfect tree, a spindly little tree, which he views as a rejection of the fake corporate holiday.
As you can imagine, this doesn’t go over well. After being laughed at by his friends, Charlie can’t handle anymore and screams “DOESN’T ANYONE KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS?” Linus happily complies, by reciting from the Gospel of Luke. After this, everyone seems to realize where they’ve gone wrong, and help Charlie bring his little tree to life.
How does any of this relate to holiday depression? As it turns out, quite a bit. In my search for tips for dealing with holiday depression, I realized many aspects of this Charles Schultz classic, have tips embedded in the story line. The following tips are from www.healthstatus.com and www.psychologytoday.com, but also coincide with this classic Christmas tale.
Tips for dealing with holiday depression (1, 2)
- Don’t worry about trying to be like everyone else. Don’t compare your holiday with movies or what society dictates. Don’t try to make a corporate, or cutout Christmas. Instead, make it your own.
- Donate money to a charity instead of buying mindless gifts.
- Don’t fuss about the small stuff. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to make everything perfect.
- Help others… Help a friend who is sad. Volunteer to help the homeless or those less fortunate. “Christmas is supposed to be giving; make a happy dent in the lives of others.“
- Get others to help out. “Don”t do everything yourself. That in and of itself is depressing.“
- Don’t be alone or isolate yourself. Find a way to join in with family, friends or the community.
- Don’t spend too much money. “Remember it’s not about the presents, it’s about the presence.“
- Learn to forgive and accept others. Chances are, if someone does annoying things, that’s not going to change. Don’t get angry or upset by someone being themselves. Accept people for the beautiful and flawed people God made them to be.
Christmas was once my favorite holiday. I love giving gifts, and seeing the look on peoples’ faces as they open my surprise. As I’ve grown older, however, I became very much like Charlie Brown did, frustrated and disillusioned by the corporate, stale and fake nature of Christmas.
Over the last few years, I’ve changed the way I view Christmas. It’s more about spending time with family and celebrating our lives together. At the end of the day, isn’t that what really matters?
Until next time….Namaste my friends.