Tuesday, December 1, 2015

15 Tips to Help Banish the Holiday Blues

We are empty-nesters with two successful children.  They are so successful that they are long gone and living rich, fabulous lives.  Well, not exactly, but they are married, have careers and live far away.

So we are often alone for the holidays as we share them with their spouses' families or we can't get together for whatever reason.

But even if we are not alone, the holidays still remind us of holidays past and those who are no longer with us which can bring on the holiday blues.

So the holiday blues can hit you at any time under any circumstances.

For the most part, we have accepted that our children have their own families, and we will not always be able to get together for the holidays so we make our own plans.

One Christmas Hubby and I were alone so off to Paris we went (with everyone else in the world, it seemed). It was the same year the "underwear bomber" decided to fly so on our way back home, it took hours to get through security at the Paris airport. They searched everyone again at the gate and when the Paris security person found a little box of sour candies in my bag, she asked me what they were.  I tried to explain but before I could finish, she shoved them at me and said, "Eat one!"  Geez, I guess she thought if they were little bombs it was best I blew up right there.  So much for Christmas in Paris.

So Hubby and I have accepted that some holiday seasons we will be alone and have had to make our own plans.

However, for some reason this year, when I discovered that both of my kids were going to be with their "other families" for Thanksgiving, I started feeling sad.  Even though this year for Thanksgiving, we delivered meals to elderly shut-ins and had a lovely meal in a restaurant, there was still that lingering loneliness that only a boisterous family gathering can banish. 

So I thought I had better start thinking of ways to get through the rest of the holiday season.

1.  Wine

 I can't say enough about the medicinal qualities of wine.


2. Don't let your husband choose the Christmas tree

That could ruin your holiday right there.  Hubby went to Costco and bought a tree that was all wrapped up with wire.  I asked him, "You bought a tree you didn't even see?"  The tree has so many holes in it I felt like I was decorating a big green slab of swiss cheese!

3.  Likewise, put the lights on the Christmas tree yourself.

Otherwise, a big fight will ensue over the placement of the lights (once again) and that would just add to your holiday blues.  Or better yet, do what we do. Make a big fight about the Christmas tree lights a holiday tradition.

4.  Shop for yourself too.

Buy yourself yet another fur jacket (faux, of course) to add to your collection or some other crap you really don't need.  It's the thought that counts.

5.  Do not under any circumstances watch Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movies.

If you do, you are asking for it.  You will find yourself sobbing uncontrollably when the heroine reunites with her long lost mother or dog just in time for Christmas.  And watching Candace Cameron Bure find love while snowed in at the Buffalo airport in "A Christmas Detour" would depress anyone. I know it did me. Her voice alone will remind you of fingernails on a chalk board.

6.  Most experts would recommend exercise to ward off depression.

I say exercising will just depress you more.  Forget the gym.

7. Don't bake, especially if you will be alone.

I know you think you are going to give your goodies away as gifts but you know you will get depressed about being on your own and will just eat all of those sugar-coated candy cane cookies and rum balls yourself and then when you weigh yourself...I don't need to tell you.

8.  Dress your pets up in holiday costumes.

Dogs and cats in costumes will always give you a laugh.  There is nothing funnier than your dog going about his business, sniffing things and taking a wee in his Santa suit and party hat.

9.  Buy a new ornament for the tree every year and give them as gifts.

I look forward to this little ritual.  A new ornament for our trees and one each for the kids and grandkids to help them build their collections.  My Mom used to do that, and now thinking of her, I'm getting depressed.

10.  Throw a party to remind yourself how many friends you have.

But if you don't think you have any friends, forget it.

11.  Go on a Christmas home tour.

These tours are usually in high end neighborhoods you can't afford, of houses you could never afford, beautifully decorated with ornamentations you can't afford, with gorgeous views you could never afford...never mind.

12.  As I mentioned about our trip to Paris one Christmas, if you are going to be alone, taking a trip somewhere can perk up your spirits.

However, keep in mind that it's a big world out there.  If you have a great idea, a ton of other people will have that same idea.  When we went to Paris I thought that flying on Christmas day would mean the plane would be empty, because everyone would want to be home with their families and all of the flight attendants would be cheerful and it would be one big festive flight.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  What I learned is that school is out and people want to take trips with their entire families.  The plane was packed!  The flight attendants were crabby and there wasn't anything festive about it.  Likewise, Paris was also packed.  Everyone had the same idea that we did.

So if you want to go away for Christmas, I recommend going somewhere that is decidedly off season like the San Juan Islands.  One Christmas we went to Orcas Island and stayed at the Rosario Resort

We had a room with a view and practically had the place to ourselves. 

Heck, we practically had the island to ourselves because EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED.  Let's just say we spent a lot of time in the hotel bar and, I think, we had a sandwich for our Christmas Eve dinner. 

There was a piano player in the bar who was singing some Christmas songs and Hubby talked his way into performing.  You can see the startled expression on the piano player's face as Hubby wormed his way into his act to sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!"

Going away for Christmas can be fun and lift your spirits but choose wisely.

13. Have an ugly Christmas sweater contest at work or with your significant other.

I already have mine.

(It has jingle bells on it too)!

14. Boycott the holidays completely.

There is always that.

Not sure if those tips helped. 

But then there is Tip #15.

15.  Remember the true meaning of the holiday season.

Whether you are celebrating with your whole family, part of your family or you are just on your own, it's all about love.

Being loving, doing something nice for others and lifting their spirits will automatically banish those holiday blues.

Now I'm off to dress up the dogs and have a glass of wine!


Happy Holidays everyone!

How will you get through the holidays?

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
for my review of the new movie 
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on
My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."

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