Here’s one of the best-kept secrets: Holiday time is difficult for most of us. At this time of year there’s an unspoken pressure to look and feel happy even if we aren’t. Family problems take center stage as we gather with relatives to celebrate. We’re reminded of holidays past when we may have lost loved ones or had other intense personal difficulties with which to contend. Need I say more?
The folks I counsel seem to be struggling with the holidays this year more than ever. There are a few reasons for this:
- Unemployment Levels: The unemployment rate is just south of 10%. Meanwhile those folks with jobs are either doing the work of two or three people or are frightened that they’ll be out of work any moment.
- Financial Strain: It’s always a challenge for people with limited funds not to feel “less than” at holiday time. Many more people find themselves financially challenged now than in years past.
- World Situation: International economic and political uncertainty leaves folks with a sense of dread, making it more difficult to relax and enjoy this festive season. Traveling to holiday destinations becomes increasingly stressful (even by bus or train) because of the need for heightened security measures.
The good news, however, is that there are things we can do to lift ourselves out of the doldrums and enjoy the holiday season despite unfortunate circumstances. Think about more creative and less costly ways of giving. The fact that funds are in short supply doesn’t mean that creativity, love and good will are! Have a family meeting and talk about ways to make this holiday season the best ever. If you think outside the box you’ll come up with some great ideas and you can add the following to your list: