The introduction to Silver Bells is accurate. This time of year elicits a wide range of emotional responses. Nostalgia, depression, grief and wonder to name a few.
It’s been my good fortune to have a very nostalgic season this year. Craft fairs, social engagements, new found Christmas Carols. I even saw the 1965 version of Cinderella last night. A show I haven’t seen since I was 10 years old.
There is no one thing that makes Christmas nostalgic. It’s different for everyone. It depends on what fond memories you have. Not all of them need to be big. A taste, a smell, a song can trigger nostalgia.
Grief and Depression the Difficult Emotions
Watching tv shows and ads and listening to radio programs makes you think that there is something wrong with you if you aren’t happy this time of year. Charlie Brown captured it when he said “I know I should be happy but I’m not.”
From late October until early January almost everyone I have ever cared about, pet or human, has died. Mixed in with holiday celebrations and birthdays (the rest of my loved ones seem to have been born in these months as well) is a sense of grief and loss. Sadness because they won’t be here for this season. A wish to see them again.
Depression can happen when you are alone or when you are in a crowd. When I was younger I was sad because there was no one special to share the holidays with. Now that I’m older it seems like a lot of work for just me.
In Northern Exposure Maurice sums it up when he says “Christmas is a time that makes a single man feel disenfranchised.” I may not have the quote exactly since I haven’t seen that episode for many many years. It is true though.When you are single and/or alone at Christmas it causes you to question your lovability, your sense of belonging.
I grew up in a generation that was “supposed” to finish school, get married and have a family. I never did any of those. For me I feel the lack during this season. I would LOVE to hear from younger people that didn’t grow up with those expectations. If you are single how is this season for you? Are you happy or sad? Does this time of year have any effect on your emotions?
I don’t suffer from depression but many people I know do. Many of them just get through the holidays in a state of numbness.
Wonder is my absolutely favourite thing about this time of year. The beautiful lights, the good wishes. Most of all the wonder on a child’s face. The joyous look when they see Santa. The wide eyes at the lights and the tree. Their innocence when they talk about Santa and the reindeer. There is video on Facebook at the moment of a little one being pushed in a shopping cart through a store with Christmas decorations. The look on his/her face says it all. To quote Buddy the Elf “SANTAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”
I was raised with Christmas and have friends raised in other traditions. I would love to hear from people raised in traditions celebrated at this time of year that aren’t Christmas. Do those traditions include high expectations and emotional reactions?
Whatever tradition you follow, Hannukkah, Kwanza, Yule, Christmas or any I have missed, please have a safe and happy season and a wonderful 2018.