The Christian Hospitality Blog

Formerly the Irreverant Reverend Blog, the focus of this blog has been changed to ideas for promoting Christian Hospitality.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beating the Holiday Blues

It's gray and rainy where I'm at today, and I'm facing the first Christmas since the sudden death of my mother earlier this month. In short, I, like millions of people, am going into the holiday season with some dread mixed into my usual anticipation. But, in addition to being a grieving daughter who needs to support a grieving father, I'm also the mom of young children who deserve a beautiful, spiritual holiday filled with wonder and joy. What is there to do?
Beliefnet blogger Therese Borchard has come up with an excellent guide for heading off holiday blues. If there is any chance that you could end up depressed and worn out by the holiday season, I urge you to check this out and put a high priority on following her very good advice--especially if you are a woman.
As you probably know, women have traditionally shouldered a disproportionate amount of the holiday tasks. Admit it, ladies--part of it is our own doing. If you are like me, you are prone to Martha Stewart Syndrome--wanting your home and gifts and holiday cooking to shine with unrealistic brightness. Martha Stewart happens to be blessed (or maybe cursed?) with an unusual ability to go at full steam with just a few hours of sleep, and she has a large staff to help her achieve holiday perfection. If you don't have these advantages, cut yourself some slack, skimp on the decorating, and go the "semi-homemade" route with the cooking.

My mom was prone to worrying about everyone else's well-being when her own family history and underlying conditions indicated that her own heart health was in danger. Putting yourself and your health first is not selfish; it could be what enables your family to be blessed to celebrate many more Christmases with you in their midst. If you are young and healthy now, great--start early and develop great habits. Don't be afraid to explain to your loved ones (even children) that you need to take care of yourself and your own needs. It will probably make you a better parent (less cranky, at least, I'm guessing) and you will be providing them with the lasting legacy of great role modeling.

Most of all, make time for your spirit this Christmas. Go to church every Sunday in December, not just Christmas. See an uplifting movie or play, such as "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Carol" or the more contemporary "Family Man." Carve out time for prayer and meditation. It doesn't have to be stiff and formal. One of my favorite meditative things to do this time of year is to sit alone with the Christmas tree lit and the other lights off for a few minutes before bedtime. The beauty of the lights and the memories attached to the decorations lifts my spirit.

Take care of yourself this holiday season, and may God bless us all, everyone.

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