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How do you get through christmas when it is a sad time for you?

by Mela Leuca (follow)
Christmas Competition (39)      Christmas (129)      Advice (63)      Grief (4)     

xmas tree and coffin at the site of the plaque

It's christmas time and there are endless reminders that this is the jolly season. But if you don't feel jolly, for whatever reason, how do you get through the season?

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Well when my mum died a while back I ended up spending Christmas day doing activities such as riding my bike. Since then, it sort of became a habit.
My heart goes out to people who feel that way. Hmm. I've been pretty lucky, but at times when I was finding things stressful or a little sad at Christmas I cheered myself up with some really nice scented soap and scented candles. It was just a little pick me up, not a fix for actual depression, but it worked for me at the time. If being around too many people is the problem just getting out of the house for a bit (even just around the block, or down to the washing line) can help too.
When you've lost someone, or a loved one has gone overseas - it can be sad. Stay positive and spend time with the rest of your loved ones. My birthday was the problem when I lost my last partner on that day two years ago. I did not celebrate my birthday last year. This year was the first time I celebrated my birthday since.
It is tough when you just don't feel part of the Christmas thing. But know that there are many others in the same boat. Just because everyone is celebrating this day, does not mean you have to! Do things that make you happy. Or keep yourself busy with things that get you through the day. Try a new hobby, read a book, watch a movie, play a sport....just something to see that life is about living it...and sometimes not celebrating a certain day is okay too! ;)
If possible, you take yourself away from all the festive stuff, until the year you can in part join in.
This may take years .....or just one!
But, if for any reason it is very hard for you to be around people, be kind and look after yourself...and just go for the day.Or a few.Until it has all died down.
My then 17 yr old daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2010, 2 weeks before christmas. Since then I have not been able to celebrate christmas. It has been hard on the family, as usually we celebrate with my in-laws, and my mother-in-law really loves to go all out at christmas time. She treats christmas as more important than birthdays. I don't want to ruin it for her, but both my husband and me feel unable to join in, and just can't get happy or excited about it. My son, who was the twin of my daughter, doesn't want to do anything either. He just wants to ignore it. I think we would all prefer to go to bed on the 24th and wake up on the 26th.

But that doesn't mean we don't want others to enjoy christmas. But I find it so hard when other people say "Merry christmas". I usually just smile back and say "and a happy new year" or something along those lines. Christmas is just an unbearably sad time. It would make it a lot easier if people just didn't say "Merry christmas" to us. We can still talk about the weather, having time off, vacation plans, all the usual stuff of conversations, just nothing about christmas because it hurts every time it is mentioned. So that is the hardest part for us.

As for the rest, we just get on with our lives as if it was a normal weekend. This is the easiest way we have found of dealing with it and not being overcome by our grief and sadness. We will still shed a few tears on christmas day, because we can't avoid it, but not having to be jolly is easy when we aren't having to participate in celebrations or other joyful activities.
I play the music at my local church so have to do that (either Xmas eve or morning), but then try to treat the day as another ordinary day, as I'm often alone for it.

I feel for you Mela Leuca as I can totally empathise. My husband died two years ago, and each Christmas since has been very difficult and sad - however, my son is very loving and considerate and I always spend Christmas with him, his partner and mutual friends. Doesn't alleviate the pain but takes your mind off the sadness for a little while.
Unfortunately, it is a very sad, lonely or at least poignant time for many. The good thing I suppose is it gives you a chance to reflect on the people you miss.
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