I love the holiday season. I have always loved the holiday season. For me, it’s all about the favorite foods, time with family, winter fun, and joyful memories. All those cheesy holiday Hallmark moments have grown exponentially now that I have a little one. However, there is one very distinct thing about this season I try to be aware of: The holidays are not the “most wonderful time of the year” for all.
The insurmountable pressure extends itself in many forms: Being the host for the holiday dinners, parties, and gatherings. The expenses that go along with it. Making the tough decision to forgo it all and stay home instead. Traveling to see others, dealing with traffic, delays, and those last-minute changes in plans. Expectations are higher than ever.
There are also things like job losses and budget cuts heading into the new year, and most don’t seem to talk about that. For others, it’s the burden of having to work through — and on — the holidays. I used to experience this during my days as a bartender and while working in the hospitality world, where weekly coping turned into daily “let’s just get through this.”
Some of the holiday pressure comes in the form of parental and familial expectations placed upon us, and the “reason for the season” seems to be lost on so many along the way.
Yet it is still a time of joy and laughter. A time of illuminated joy for so many. We donate more. We are showing kindness a little more often. We remember those who are oft forgotten and try to include them (as they should be year round). This increase in love and charity during the holiday season deserves more of our focus.
No, November and December aren’t the only months for these kind acts. Donate year round. Text that friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Be kind and pay it forward, simply to share the love. More often than not, we don’t know what someone else is going through. And the holidays shouldn’t be the only time we walk a mile in someone else’s “Christmas Shoes.”
So now that you’re humming that song, keep in mind everything about the holiday season that causes a tug at your heartstrings. Although the holidays are not the most wonderful time of the year for all, you can do your part to lift, love, and spread cheer to those around you.