Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. The holiday version of the blog post and podcast appropriately focuses on the Holiday. What you read or listen to here might shock you. I hope it does. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…!
There are multiple sides to the Holiday season. Yes, I call it Holiday. I know there is Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Yule and Kwanzaa just to name a few. That is, however, not the only thing about Holiday. I don’t use the term holiday to offend people. I use it because I want to include everyone who is celebrating this time of year. I don’t use it to make a statement, I use it for courtesy. If someone says Merry Christmas, I say Merry Christmas or even Happy Holidays depending on the context, if they say Happy Holidays, I say Happy Holidays. But, this isn’t exactly the point of this post. So I will leave that part here.
I have long felt that it was a lot of pressure to put on one time of year. It is the time of year where most charities see the bulk of their donations. It is the time of year when most money is spent. It is also a time when scammers are trying to get your money too…though that last part is year round. However, we forget that not everyone had great families growing up. There are some families that are dealing with abusive situations, homelessness or loss. At the same time, it is not hopeless, there are things that can be done. https://www.samhsa.gov/homelessness-programs-resources/hpr-resources/recognizing-holiday-triggers I thought this was a good article from the US Government that explains a bit about the drawbacks for the homeless and potential suggestions. I don’t know about homelessness, but I can imagine that it would be a difficult time of year. It is a difficult time of year for those who have lost close family during the year and are remembering what was and what no longer is. It’s difficult for people who have experienced trauma and know that things are not how they were.
Of course another issue is for people who maintain sobriety for whatever reason. This article gives some ideas on how to cope. https://lifehacker.com/how-to-maintain-your-sobriety-around-your-family-during-1848151966. Not everyone drinks. People seem somewhat more accepting of it now…but I remember the day of “well, one won’t hurt”. What people didn’t get is that for some, one could hurt. There are a variety of reasons people choose not to drink during the holidays. So, if you want to make sure of the well-being of your guests have some non-alcoholic options available. This will help everyone to be able to stay in their comfort level. It will remove stress. Another options is just having non-alcoholic options in the house. This one is up to each individual and whether or not there are reasons for not drinking. For example, some medical conditions they suggest you don’t drink. My condition, the specialist was very pleased when I told him I didn’t drink. Apparently if you are not helped by blood thinners or taking certain medications, drinking alcohol should be off your Holiday list of things to get.
I’ve seen different ideas about family violence during Holiday Season. There seems to be some conflicting ideas, however, they do point out that families where there is ongoing abuse may still experience it. This article from the USA gives some information on this. https://www.violencefreecolorado.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/DV-and-Holidays-Handout.pdf
Of course there are some people who find the stress from the holidays, loss, etc too difficult to deal with. There are resources and here I will list a couple of articles that give resource numbers and sites both in Canada and in the USA. In Canada, https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/covid-19-s-sudden-resurgence-is-fuelling-pandemic-fatigue-these-free-mental-health-resources-can-help-1.5717483 and https://www.ccmhs-ccsms.ca/mental-health-resources-1 and for Americans, https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/index.html may help. In any case, reach out to someone and talk and if nothing else, 911 will help get the family member a safe place. Things might seem dark now, but it doesn’t mean it will stay dark. There is always hope.
Sorry, everyone, not really trying to be a Debbie Downer, but the fact is that holidays can be tough for some people and those are the people I would want to reach out to. For some Holidays and Christmas are a fantastic time and a treasure trove of memories and making memories, but for some it is a time of memories of loss, of anger and sadness, of loneliness and feeling forgotten. You have to understand that not everyone is a big fan of the big Holidays. Not everyone is Christian and not everyone has had the fairy tale lifestyle from the Hallmark card. Remember this when you don’t get the ‘standard’ excitement or answer from people around this time of year. It might have nothing to do with you and everything to do with struggling with demons.
When you give during this season, remember to think of those who have little or nothing and donate to the appropriate charities. Avoid the scams. Give to the food bank, give to the homeless shelters. If you aren’t rich, you can always donate your time to make someone’s life easier in any of these. The spirit of the holidays was always one of helping the poor and unfortunate and making their lives better in any little way. It was never about buying stores out or drinking and partying.
I leave you with two quotes. The first is: “Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern, and so do you. Thinking of you this holiday season!” –T.A. Barron. The second is: “Christmas is forever, not for just one day. For loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away.” –Norman Wesley Brooks. I’ve always believed that there is goodness out there and that we should make the Holiday idea of giving an everyday thing and not just one day or month of the year. I sometimes feel that people tend to go all out the one month, burn out and then think they are done for the year. Poverty, however never takes a break. I think that is my whole deal with the Holidays. It’s simple to say love one another as I have loved you, but seems much more difficult to actually follow it. No one is perfect, but we could make a better world if we try.
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