Finding The Joy In The Holiday Season
Those great fragrances from the holiday kitchen!
Joy is where you find it, but sometimes you have to look for it.
As surprising as it is, the joys of the holiday season sometimes take a little looking, a little calm looking and thought.
The holidays can become so hectic that even before you can enjoy them they are over!
Is that the explanation for why the holiday season can be so depressing for some of us?
Admittedly, this season of the shorter days and longer nights brings on a depressed mood in some folks which is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (shortened appropriately to S.A.D.) The reduced amount of daylight, especially when the colder weather can give rise to gray days, even storms, can be depressing, especially for S.A.D. sufferers.
Then, by comparison with those of us who have family and friends galore, there can be an especially depressing feeling of loneliness when we may be alone or nearly so for the holidays.
All the cheery banter and laughter of others around us talking about "special plans," "family traditions," "heading home for the holidays," "shopping," "gifts," and all, can be irritating, when we know that we might not be part of such seasonal joys.
Lest we get depressed just thinking about these circumstances, let's see what we can do on our own to find our share of the joys of the holiday season.
Getting some sunlight outside whenever the weather is half decent, can help a lot in minimizing the effects of S.A.D., if we are at all susceptible to the disorder.
Going to a nearby shopping center or mall, and coming to the realization that we don't have to hurry and scurry in the way some frustrated shoppers are doing, can be reinforcing that our own situation has some positives to it.
Watching the excited faces of any of the children who aren't fussing can bring some joy. Even standing to watch the parade of children heading for a Santa's knee with their Christmas wishes, can provide some delightful moments.
Giving a kind word to a harried cashier can make both of you feel better, and it's not a bad substitute for a smile from someone you know.
Now, if you are one of the lucky ones who does have family and friends to share the holidays with, there will be the simple joys of time together, the fragrances of favorite foods and desserts, the decorations, kitchen talk, and other shared moments, the photos and videos to look back on, and the simple pleasures and joys of watching the children celebrating.
If that scenario is not going to be in the cards for this holiday season, seek out chances to volunteer, perhaps serving a meal to the homeless, passing out some charity's food baskets to shut-ins, paying a visit to a senior center, hospice, assisted living facility, or hospital where some folks may be even lonelier than you imagine yourself to be.
Somehow loneliness gets lost when we seek out opportunities to be of service to others. Just being polite can bring smiles of appreciation from others, smiles which light us up, too.
Is there someone you might thank for a special favor they have done somewhere along the way? Write a note or give them a call with your thanks. It may be someone from work, a former teacher or coach, a neighbor, a minister, medical professional, etc.
If you can afford a little gift-giving, handing out a few individual serving sized packs of your favorite brand of hot chocolate to your local firefighters waiting for their next emergency, or joining in some Sub For Santa programs, or buying an anonymous gift for a needy child to have when their Christmas wish list might be otherwise unfulfilled, can give you the joy of knowing you did something worthwhile. Helping at a shelter can do so, too.
Being busy in doing something good will not only bring blessings to others, but joy to yourself in the process.
Have the Happy Holidays that come from making others happy, and from looking forward to what can become your best holiday season ever!
Copyright 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
"Ho, Ho, Ho", is North Polish for "Help, Help, Help!" and "Serve, Serve, Serve!"
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