Depression and the Holidays Survival Guide

Let’s be honest – even if you’re not suffering from clinical depression or the holiday blues, the holidays can be stressful and often disappointing. We run ourselves ragged buying gifts, cooking, decorating and entertaining. Tempers flare as we’re thrown together with relatives whom we see infrequently, and don’t necessarily enjoy spending time with. Expectations are high that this season will be magical and perfect as we try to recapture the anticipation we felt as children waiting for Santa, or wait for a rush of emotion as we ponder the religious significance of Christmas and Chanukah. When those feelings don’t automatically well up, we’re disappointed. And, of course, we’re ready to take the nearest heavy object to the tv or computer when we see the same holiday commercial for the 487th time.

I broke down in tears twice while trying to juggle visits to my ex-husband’s family and my own (parents and two sets of grandparents on his side, an hour and a half away from my parents and siblings). I wasn’t even depressed – both those times I was on antidepressants and doing great. The sheer stress of the holidays was just too much for me.

Being Depressed During the Holidays – I’m in Hell, Right?

So that’s my view of how the holidays can be when you’re not depressed. When you are depressed, it’s like Dante created your own private circle of hell. The idea of doing all this holiday stuff while you’re depressed is beyond overwhelming. Shop for Christmas or Chanukah presents? You’re having trouble getting out to shop for food! Decorate the house? You don’t even know if you’ll get laundry done so you’ll have clean underwear tomorrow. Send out Christmas cards to 50 of your closest relatives and friends? What would you say in them – “Doing awful. My new pastime is staring at the ceiling. I hate myself. My clothes are falling off me because I don’t eat anymore. I can’t wait till the holidays are over. Don’t bother to call. By the way, Happy Holidays!”.

Rest on the Flight into Egypt

It’s miserable to be depressed during the holidays. One reason is that you know that you really should be enjoying all the wonderful things that come along with them. As down as I sound on the season, I really do enjoy a lot of Christmas-sy things – decorating the tree and the house, giving and receiving presents, watching Rudolph and the Grinch and even sending out Christmas cards. But when I’m depressed, the fact that I can’t enjoy these things makes me twice as miserable, and I berate myself for not partaking fully in the joys of the season.

The second thing that makes it so hard to be depressed during the holidays is that doing the holidays right requires planning and organization. If you’re depressed, you’re so far from having those capabilities that it’s pathetic. You can’t even plan past the next five minutes, let alone a whole holiday season. And organization? Please! You probably are about to have your electricity cut off because you haven’t been able to get organized enough to pay your bills.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas? I Don’t Think So

snow_bunny_scarry-smAnother horrendous aspect of being depressed during the holidays, potentially, is spending time with people. Parties, dinners, get-togethers, etc. You’re having so much trouble smiling that you’re sure you have an absolutely ghastly expression pinned to your face. You feel like bursting into tears when someone asks you to join in singing a Christmas carol. Worst of all, you’re overly sensitive in general – to noise, to anything sad, like the other reindeer teasing Rudolph, to really garish decorations that make you really depressed for some unknown reason. So you have to try to act normal while all this turmoil and pain is going on inside you, instead of being able to cry and scream or stare at the ceiling like you can do when you’re alone.

On the flip side, being alone at the holidays (not by choice) can exacerbate depression also. You’re being bombarded with images of happy family gatherings that won’t be part of your holidays.

I’ve saved the worst for last – the thing that makes the holidays least bearable in a depressed state. It’s that everyone you know (and even strangers and TV commercials) is telling you how much you should be enjoying this time of year. Even if they’re at the end of their rope trying to get everything done, they will be telling you what a downer you’re being. You know you should be happy and having fun. No one has to tell you that. But they do anyway, and you just want to slug them and burst out crying at the same time. Yes, they “mean well.” But they’re not making things any easier for you.

Ways to Get Through It

Well, that’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. I have some suggestions for the depressive’s holiday, drawn from my experience and what I did wrong during my miserable depressed holiday seasons. (By the way, these are also good for the non-depressive who’s totally stressed out and at the end of his/her rope.) You have to be willing to throw away all the “shoulds” that come with the holidays, though.

The number one rule is: Give yourself permission. Permission to drastically cut back on holiday preparations, permission to feel emotions other than unqualified joy and happiness and permission to gently but firmly say “no” to family and friends. Remember that you are ill. Clinical depression is an illness that is affecting your body, mind and personality. You are as fragile as any invalid. Keep this rule in mind during the season, and you should make it through okay. Remember – you are not a loser for scaling back. Other people would probably love to do it too, but there’s major peer pressure to “enjoy” holidays to their fullest.

That’s the rule; here are the suggestions:

  • In general, simplify the holidays. Elaborate preparations can wait for another year when you’re in better shape. Also, there’s the argument that a simpler holiday is more emotionally fulfilling.
  • Instead of making yourself go through the ordeal of sending out paper Christmas cards, send electronic ones instead. Hallmark and Ojolie.com have a good selection of free holiday e-cards.
  • When it comes to giving gifts, think gift certificates or gift cards. They’re the perfect present. You can get them online or, at least in the U.S., at most large drugstore chain stores. Yes, everyone will know what you spent – who cares? If you have the energy and the inclination, do an extra-special job of wrapping. If you don’t, don’t worry about it. Also, consider shopping online, which also keeps you out of the mall. Maybe I’m the only one, but malls at Christmas freak me out when I’m depressed, and I’m ultra-sensitive to the noise and crowds.
  • Another option is to gift an experience. One Christmas my sister gave us a cooking lesson and meal at the chef’s table in a local restaurant. You could also gift a meal from a chef cooked in the recipient’s home.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, have Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa at your house. No way. If it’s your turn, switch with someone else and tell them you’ll make it up to them. They’ll just have to understand. If you’re going to someone else’s place and you’re expected to bring food, buy it, don’t make it. If they want home-made, too bad. Let them make it, then. Just say, “I’m sorry – I’m just not up to it.” End of story.
  • You’ll need excuses. To people who know you’re suffering from depression, tell them that you’re just not up to doing all the holiday stuff, or going to all the holiday events, or expressing all the Christmas cheer. To people who don’t know what you’re going through, perhaps co-workers, tell them, “I’m just so busy, I can’t fit it in.” Or, “It’s just so hard to get into the holiday spirit sometimes, what with all the work that comes with it.” If someone calls you a Grinch say, “Well, what would Christmas be without at least one?” and spit in their eggnog when they’re not looking.
  • If you must send out cards, just sign them instead of racking your brain trying to come up with something cheerful.
  • If the usual Christmas music is really grating on your nerves, try different music, like classical or choral renditions of carols. You can stream a yule log with Christmas music, which is relaxing and low-key.
  • Scale back on your decorating. Don’t wrap the house and bushes in lights. Put the wreath on the door, and you’ve taken care of the decorating for the outside of the house. Decorating a Christmas tree is a monumental task, especially if you get a live tree. Consider scrapping it for this year, or just having a mini tree. Or use evergreen boughs to decorate a room, maybe with some lights or ornaments woven in. Simple can be beautiful.
  • Don’t beat yourself up over feeling empty instead of full of the joy of the season. You’re feeling empty because that’s a part of the illness. It’s not your fault, and you’re not a bad person or a loser because of it. Even people who are not depressed are often having trouble getting in touch with the real meaning of the season.
  • Try to stay away from the alcohol that’s flowing freely this time of year. Very simply, alcohol is a depressant. It’s the last thing you need. It may relieve the pain for a little while, but you’ll probably end up feeling sad and maudlin. This is one of several suggestions I have for managing your depression during the holiday season.
  • If you can afford to, arrange to take a vacation during Christmas. Go somewhere tropical or where Christmas isn’t celebrated, and just avoid the whole thing. You can use the excuse of getting ready for your vacation as a way to avoid social commitments.

Web Pages/Articles Online

  • 10 Simple Ways to Create a Happy Minimalist Holiday
  • Are You Having a Charlie Brown Christmas?
  • Being Alone and Depressed During the Holidays
  • How to Cope With Spending the Holidays Alone
  • Keep the Holiday Support Going
  • Managing Depression During the Holidays
  • Snow Globe of Emotions at Christmas
  • Social Anxiety During the Holidays
  • Survival Guide to the Holiday Season
  • The Holiday Train Wreck
  • When the Holidays Make You Sad
  • Here are some links which focus less on the commercial aspects of Christmas, Chanukkah and Kwanzaa, and more on the meaning, traditions and simple pleasures of the season.

  • 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Chanukah on the Net
  • Christmas Movies
  • Christmas Traditions
  • Christmas Traditions and Customs
  • How Christmas Works: Guide to Christmas Traditions
  • Judaism 101: Chanukkah
  • Kwanzaa Information Center
  • Maddog 'N Miracles: Christmas Lights in Central Texas
  • The Gift of the Magi
  • The Philippines Shows the World How to Celebrate Christmas
  • Shopping Online

  • Archie McPhee
  • Born Pretty
  • Etsy
  • Exploratorium Museum Store
  • Gifts.com
  • Lush
  • Metropolitan Museum Shop
  • Museum of Fine Arts Shop
  • Perpetual Kid
  • Retro Planet
  • Sunny Caribbee
  • Sweet Grass Farm
  • Think Geek
  • Uncommon Goods
  • Christmas Morning by Maxfield Parrish

    Reading

    Music Guaranteed to be Non-Irritating (Yes, it’s a short list)

    • Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) – Amy Grant, Home for Christmas
    • Gabriel’s Message – Sting, A Very Special Christmas
    • Grown-Up Christmas List – Amy Grant, Home for Christmas
    • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Pretenders, A Very Special Christmas
    • Most of the songs on Pink Martini, Joy to the World and A Very She & and Him Christmas.

    Do not listen to:

    • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
    • Winter Wonderland
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    62 Comments

    1. I really hate the holidays, I lost my Dad 12/24/2014. I need a place to go where there are no colorful lights etc. Christmas is like a big anvil pounding on my heartache and shoves my grief down my throat. It torments me horribly

    2. Thank you for sharing, it can be really hard for people who don’t want to do anything during the Holidays. Seeing family, decorating, it all seems too hard. Hopefully we can lift spirits even in the slighted ways, I would suggest watching Christmas Movies, if you wish to be alone. Or even Baking can be a nice past time.

    3. Well for a good single man like me that was very much hoping to meet a good woman to settle down with to have a family which for me the holidays really suck altogether when you have no one to share it with. What is so good about being single anyway? I will admit that i really hate being single and alone all the time since it can get very depressing most of the time when this really never should’ve happened to me in the first place to begin with since it is the type of women that we now have out there that are really to blame. Well with most women being so very picky these days since they’re really looking for the rich type of men these days since they’re very greedy and selfish as well since they will only want the very best of all and will never settle for less either. And when you compare these women today to the real good old fashioned ladies that we had years ago that most of them back then really put these women today to complete shame altogether since they were certainly the very opposite of what these women are now which really speaks for itself.

    4. Vacations? Gifts? Cards? I can’t even afford a Christmas tree. Not that I want one but the guilt I feel over not celebrating Christmas for my 15 year old son is awful. My depression is like a contagious virus he’s contracted. He seems listless and hopeless. I can’t even muster the energy to clean my home. If were lucky I’ll get to the store before it closes so we can at least have sandwiches on Christmas. I’m estranged from my toxic family. There is a hole that no one can fill from that. I’m adrift at sea with no roots. My home town was long ago gentrified. My mother used to cry and lock herself in her room throughout my childhood on the holidays and I resented her for being so selfish. Well on a positive note at least I don’t do that… I do that ALL YEAR! FML and Eff Christmas! Lines the pockets of soulless corporations that are raping the earth of it’s minerals and resources and sending our jobs off to China for CRAP we don’t NEED!!! For what to pile up more garbage & waste!! It’s all BS!

    5. This will be my compulsory pre-Christmas read every December!
      I’ve been moping around for weeks feeling cranky, miserable, and without a single iota of enthusiasm for Christmas festivities of any sort.
      I was diagnosed with depression over thirty years ago (but I recall being depressed as a child, so have had it forever it seems) so being more than well aware of the signs and symptoms, how has it taken me weeks to realise that I’m in the grey, paralysing fog of depression?
      I’m completely unmotivated. My home is a pigsty because I can’t be bothered cleaning it. I have no idea if I’ve bought the ‘right’ presents for the people I have to buy for. I have two family get togethers to go to and this year I haven’t prepared any food items to take along – I’m taking a bottle of wine to one and at 11.52am on 24 December I haven’t got much of a plan of what to take to the other – and I’m the main food contributor.
      The presents are not wrapped and I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money in the past few weeks but now can’t work out what it was spent on.
      I’ll say that I just haven’t been up to it if anyone asks, but mainly I’m going to have to grit my teeth and soldier on through the festive merriment – including new year’s eve which I loathe – and hope that I come out the other end feeling relieved and hopeful.
      Next year I will be vigilant and watching for the signs.

    6. Well single people don’t do much better, specially when you’re living away from home, I just saw my neighbor get some pre-christmas presents and just wish I din’t see that cause I’m not getting any presents and although I felt happy for him I felt sad for myself at the same time, there’s no magical remedy for this, you just have to tough it out and wait for the holidays to end.

    7. This is my first real experience with depression. I’ve always been the “glass half full” guy! But I’ve spent my whole life fixing other people’s problems. My ex wasn’t just a “glass half empty” person. Her glass was just empty no matter what! My daughters the same way. I think their negativity was more powerful than my positivity and I’ve given up trying. Now I have no desire whatsoever for anything. I don’t want friends, family, or to even leave the house. I hate what I’ve become & hate my life.

    8. James, I feel the same as you. My Mother, in particular, paints this perfection picture that I cannot endure. My sister feeds into this. There is a bit of narcisstic family dynamics here. I can’t wait for it to be over. I am physically sick to my stomach waiting for it to be gone gone one!

    9. Well i really do hate the Holidays since they really Suck for me when you have No One to share your life with. And for those of you that were very Blessed to have that which you have so very much to be very Thankful for since your life is very much Complete. Make sure you hold on to what you have since many of us out there Definitely Would’ve certainly wanted the same thing as well.

    10. Diagnosed with depression a few months ago, been suspecting it for years but only recently had the courage to see my doctor (who was superb, she recognised it straight away). My dose of anti-depressants was recently upped by her as I wasn’t coping with stuff. Totally agree with what is said here, I dread Christmas, the enforced happiness and merriment. I’ve no wish whatsoever to spoil anyone else’s Christmas but people should just accept that some others (myself included) simply struggle to cope with it all. Friends inviting me round for a “fun” evening, work colleagues expecting me to go out for a drink (I am trying to cut back on my alcohol intake massively). Roll on January 2nd, look forward to Spring then…

    11. Hi there, the whole thing is goijng perfectly here and ofcourse every one
      is sharing information, that’s in fact good, keep up writing.

    12. Thank you for all the wonderful information. Your site is a great resource to have on hand.

      Until recently I had extreme issues with depression, always on the edge of killing myself. It’s a very dark place to be, especially with my background in spirituality and meditation. For the sake of not arguing, I won’t even go into how harmful ungrounded meditation and the sort of things some ancient cults practiced. What was there to look forward to in anything, including death? For me, this sick joke of an existence didn’t end when one died. I was depersonalized in the way that this reality we know as part of some big illusion, probably as a hologram setup for no particular reason as a plaything of some celestial being.

      I came to believe in the idea of Hades, where everyone, ever roams in a dark space for the rest of eternity, never knowing what is in front of oneself. The fear of forever being conscious in the abyss. All the fools telling me that I should “snap out of it” and all other sorts of garbage didn’t help.

      I stopped eating and exercising properly, and simply waited until I finally killed myself. Food had to be puréed in order to absorb anything at all, whenever I decided to eat, which was usually once every day or so. I was anorexic and would have literally starved to death from malnutrition. My hair darkened, my skin became grey, and my eyes turned black. I stopped caring about almost anyone and anything.

      Thankfully I am totally cured of these issues. The solutions were not what I expected, and were of things I was sceptical of in the past. Now I never doubt the effectiveness of acupuncture, osteopathy, meditation, and a strict diet. It took a lot of effort and discipline, seeing as this had been going on for a long time. I was in a slump for years, but it became especially bad for the last three.

      Getting to the point of having enough discipline to keep on top can be extremely difficult. This is why I give my account, so as to embolden others who’ve travelled in the dark. For some reason, I never gave in. Numerous experts whom I now trust said it was a wonder that I am alive. After all, the many factors that brought me to that place drive most people to insanity or suicide.

    13. Well said..I totally agree with the points said about depression. This is the worst feeling of life which can only be solved with the help of your family and loved ones. If you don’t have family then there is no need to worry you can travel to new places, you can join workshops like “NYC March Events” and you can go to different different places and take part in events. There is an upcoming event on its way to march this year at New York, so if you want to join it then go through http://nytriexpo.com/ to get the event details. Trust me it will be so much fun there. You can bring your family there also.

    14. I know this seems like heresy to most, but I say, from having had some adult Christmases where I had no real feeling for them, from years back before I was on anti-depressants, don’t even celebrate Christmas if you don’t want to. There were years here and there when no tree went up and no decorating was done, but of course I am childless and that was just fine with my cats. Even when I was married, my husband didn’t require us to have a tree. If you can get away with it, just don’t celebrate it at all. You are allowed to do exactly that, no matter how many rah-rah cheerleaders for Christmas are shrilling at you in the workplace or among your friends and family.

      You may find that leaving it uncelebrated one year a) empowers you (as in it didn’t magically destroy you, and it actually left you energy to do other things); b) makes it easier NOT to celebrate it some other year if you find that works best for you; and c) makes Christmas more genuinely fun another year if and when you DECIDE to celebrate it—showing that it’s actually a choice, and that choice is YOURS. In other words, you get your power of agency back.

      I am in better shape, moodwise, these days, but if I didn’t want to do a tree or go to events, I just wouldn’t. Or put out any Christmas stuff or get into the music or whatever. When you take some of its power away, you gain some, believe it or not.

      Hey, I’m in my mid-50s, actually had good Christmases as a kid, and I still know, as an adult, it’s a choice I get to make to celebrate it or not every year, and you can too.

    15. this is the first article I’ve read by someone who has gone through holiday depression. even though it doesn’t help my depression at least it’s believable and not full of clichés.
      thank you.

    16. I found this article very helpful. It justified my feelings and took away some of the guilt I feel when I’m depressed. I’m dreading family gatherings and “pretending to happy.” All I need to do is get through these difficult social situations without breaking down. One year I skipped my husband’s family’s gathering out of town, as I was unable to get out of bed. My husband had to shop, travel 2 hours alone, and explain how I just wasn’t up to it that year.
      Every holiday season has been difficult for the past several years due to my depression. I just go through the motions and try to get by, hoping some Christmas joy will rub off on me.

      1. Again, Barbara–at least you have someone – your husband, who will go the extra mile to do all that–for you. There are people who are single, without ANYONE in their lives. No kids, family that is wrapped up in themselves and their own kids or spouses. That’s way worse.

    17. Nice article and sound pieces of advice. People tend to forget that holidays are all about giving and being with family. If we keep that in mind, it all makes more sense and becomes better as an experience.

      1. Yes Nick. But some people, do NOT have family to be with. That’s not easy. Moreso, when all they witness is other’s in the company of loved ones, spouses, and family.
        People that are truly alone. Single, without anyone. Easier said than done. I absolutely dread the holidays, and the questions from family: “so, why haven’t you met anyone”? “Why are you single”?
        Wish I could fall asleep before xmas – and wake up the day after NYE! seriously.

    18. My family “expects” me to participate in Christmas celebrations. They do not even ask me if I want to, they tell me to. I suffer from terrible depression, anxiety, and ptsd. I am on disability, and have very little spare money to spend. I cannot sit through watching my nieces and nephews tear open countless gifts that will only be discarded in a few days when they get bored of them. My family clearly does not understand that my depression and social anxiety make going to these hyped up holidays excruciating. Just all the loud talking and kids screaming, toys making sounds etc drives me crazy. Is there one simple thing I can say to my parents to make them understand that I feel it is best that I stay home to relax and not expose myself to extra stress? They really seem clueless and cannot take a hint.

      1. I know this is hard to do, but you have to tell them NO—and then follow up with it. If they don’t respect your requests, then they are not listening, they are too self-involved. That means you have to enforce your will somehow.

        So you have to not involve yourself in their party-making. It gives you no pleasure to be present for it. Allowing yourself to be “forced” into it to satisfy loving, well-meaning “normative types” just makes you unhappy and even more depressed. They think they’re helping by getting you to be there. That it’s wrong to have these events and not have you there.

        Well, it isn’t. You are responsible for your own comfort and joy, and it may be a private thing for you. Introverts are always having to explain themselves to the majority, the extroverts, and we shouldn’t have to.

        Be polite but firm. Just don’t participate. Insist that they honor your request. That you need it quieter and calmer and don’t want to do this heavy-duty social stuff. Then just don’t go.

        If you can manage it, if you can work up to it, you will be a stronger soul altogether. It’s worth the discomfort to feel some power within yourself, and may free you in other ways to cast off other negatives.

    19. It’s all a matter of plan A plan B in getting through the holiday season. Choose what is comfortable for you. Know that your loved by many!!! People you may not even know like me I love you and I care. Give me a smile that I know you care too. And pass it on …..

    20. I can so relate to this.

      I have a very small family now (father’s side, basically no one left; mother’s side, cousins) and they all live 2,000 miles away. So it’s just me, my husband, my sister, and my stepson. Just coming out of a 2 week virus that had me out of comission. Trying to even *think* about putting up a tree or buying any presents (yes, this late in the game) seems overwhelming. I just don’t want to do it! However, my sister is developmentally disabled; Christmas traditions mean the world to her. I have to try, for her. (Hubby & stepson would be fine with nothing, I think.) 🙂

      1. Beverly. Hey, at least you have a husband. Trying being SINGLE, and alone for the holidays!. Try that on. You have family that lean on you. That’s something. You are not alone. The single people, living alone, as truly alone.

    21. Deborah, thank you for writing this post. I feel better just knowing there are other people who feel and think the same way I do – and admit it! To you and yours, and your readers, I hope you all can maintain the best perspective possible to get through the holiday season of 2015 intact; and that 2016 brings relief and healing (in any measure). For those who need this; remember that depression affects your thinking in a gross, negatively distorted way – keep going until you reach the days where you are glad you held on.

    22. I’ll be sixty later this month; not on Christmas, but close enough to it. Because of my lack of courage, I have no family or relationships…I’ve always pushed away from being involved with a woman, getting married and having a family. Mistakes litter my life; there is no meaningful achievement I point to; none. Christmas is just a day I want to get past, as soon as possible; to have as little involvement with it as I can. I urge my nieces and nephews to give to charities and to the needy; I want for nothing, and need little. When my parents are gone (both 92) there will be no reason for me to ‘go home for the holidays’. The loneliness this time of year is terrible, particularly. I do not get involved in the “holiday spirit” because of how painful it is to me. Springtime cannot come soon enough.

    23. I still love the holidays but my parents are both gone now as are so many of my family members that I loved and miss. Don’t keep in good touch with my siblings. My husband’s siblings think they are superior to us. My daughter is addicted to drugs. I love my grandchildren so much but my daughter seems to ruin every holiday…so, this year I’m cutting it short, no expectations, no hurt.

    24. Always be yourself be true to your inner feelings if you can not face holidays then there is no shame in this anyone who knows and cares about you will understand and if they don’t then do not worry about this as taking care of yourself is paramount during depression

    25. Maybe good advice for single people or those whose kids have grown up. But if you have a six year old expecting santa and all the joy they see in the christmas movies this is not much help!

      1. I didn’t teach my kids to believe in Santa, or pretend that life is like a Hallmark Channel movie. A tree, presents and Church really is enough for kids. Take the pressure off yourself

    26. Thank you so much for this article. I live in a country where we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, and then 25th and 26th we visit each other (between the huge extended family). However, the 24th Eve is the big event, the Christmas tree, and usually it is a matter of picking “where you will start your christmas”.. also known as “who is more important to you from your family and friends”. As a young adult with parents going through a divorce and all granparents very ill and some on their death bed, this year the choice was excrutiating. With no money, no presents, no decorations, heck, I don’t even have a christmas tree. The silly thing is, I do WANT to feel happy and ‘in the spirit’ , and keep running after it, I never imagined I could just NOT celebrate. anyway, this year I’m giving myself the present of trying to get out of depression and starting with finding a job so that i can afford a professional check me up and see, what can I do about my depression. So to all of you, who are deep in the dark gloom, I wish you peace of heart in this time. To the dear author – thank you so much for this article. If I could describe something as uplifting right now, this would be it.

      God bless,
      M. A.

    27. Try working at a mall during the Holidays and know what real Holiday depression is. No break just back breaking work, long exhausting hours and watching everyone else bask in relaxation and free time. Meanwhile you work 13+ hours a day sometimes 6 days per week with zero weekends off until January 16th. You have extra meetings and planning that places you at your store at 5AM or earlier and 11PM or later due to extended hours. You walk the bland grey rat work tunnels behind the stores while everyone else on the outside meanders through the false colorful store facades because you wish to avoid people not letting you have your break. To them you are a dirt servant that can be called upon at any time to help even when you have your jacket in hand and have taken off your name tag. Its now 10:45 and its the longest 15 minutes of your life as you watch all these last minute shoppers pour in your atore. To them it doesn’t matter that all you want to do is see your family and kids . all that matters is that they get their iPhone and get it now. Welcome to real hell.

      1. Yea well i did that too in my life. 12 and 13
        hour days at work aound the holidays. Now I have this person living with me he has kids he cant even see because of his ex. He says he loves me but all it is is just words coming out of his mouth nothing to back it up. I let him stay cause he has no place to go and a place he can visit his kids on those rare occasions. Having lupus just makes it worse pain all the time. My own family has broken apart. brothers and sisters critcal of each other. huh nieces and nephews that I gave beautiful Cristmases to while they were growing up could care less if i;m alive or dead. So screw it screw it all . Lights trees gifts blah blah blah. cant wait til its over.

    28. Thank you very much for this article and these excellent tips. If I may add to it, don’t be shy to NOT celebrate Christmas for a year, or at least to make a resolution to somehow “split it up” during the year, instead of doing it all in one chunk on the 25th. It might be tricky, but also a good reminder to others to keep the spirit through the year, instead of for just one day.

      I’m a lot like you, and strongly considering just not celebrating the holiday as I grow up (but being nice and peaceful during it, too…I don’t want to be mean or a grump). My FAVORITE present at Christmas is peace and quiet, that I may sit quietly in my room or lie in my bed and breathe deeply. Of course I know I can have this at any time…but I like feeling it as snow is falling outside and there is that wonderful winter stillness (in non-metropolitan areas, I mean).

      And I know about those songs to avoid…my lover and I agree that they are rather annoying. He likes the low-key ones that are kind of sad, but I need something a BIT chipper to remind me not to be completely sad, whether at Christmas or any time.

      So my present to YOU is my favorite Christmas song, from Home Alone 2. John Williams wrote it, and it always makes me feel kind of good….but does it do the same for you? I can’t say, but I hope it does.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx3a0u0C9IA

      All my love to you and yours this season, and nothing but peace and warmth, too. May we who suffer from depression feel that quiet, comforting joy that we so need. 🙂 <3

      *gives you BIG walrus hugs*

      — Marc

    29. The only downside of this article is the neck strain I got from nodding so much. I typed in “I’m not feeling the holidays” and found this article. I just have to say it really helped, as I’ve found myself more irritated and unexcited by all things Holidays this year. Commercials, decorations, etc. I’ve also sometimes found myself nervous thinking about watching Christmas movies, parties, dealing with the onslaught of commercials and music, and the big 25 day. I’m already choosing dates and moments where I can tell myself “when you’re doing/watching this, Christmas will be over.” Hell I felt bummed the other day when I was eating a cheeseburger and drinking a strawberry lemonade because it tasted like summer, and it clearly wasn’t summer! I feel like this won’t be an ongoing thing but just for this year, but still it’s something to deal with. Articles like this really help, just because I can read it and know I’m not the only one, so thank you very much. I’d also like to add that one thing you should avoid is social media sites like Facebook, because that is another cesspool of holiday things. I’m a huge MMA/UFC fan and I’ve already bookmarked the MMA pages that I follow so I can visit them directly and avoid the endless “holiday” status updates. Also there’s a big UFC ppv event on January 3rd, and that’s one of the “moments” I’ve chosen to help me know that when watching it, the holidays will be over. That’s also something I feel helps with dealing with the holidays, looking forward to something specific and sort of counting down to that moment. It makes the time between now and the 25th seem shorter because the time between now and that event is longer, and the holidays/Xmas are just in the way so to speak. Thanks again for this article, it helps more than you know!

    30. Hey, I appreciate your article, my search for, “I’m broke, and I hate christmas” led me here. But you know what would be refreshing? More people admitting that christmas sucks and its so riddled with false culture that its difficult to see what parts of it don’t suck. I like your advice to take a vacation somewhere far from it and totally dodge any discussion about why i hate it so. Oh yea, that’s right – i’m broke, I can’t. Christmas sucks.

    31. This article really was a big help. I have been beating myself up for not having perfect decorations like others. Thanks for the advice!

      1. I just now came to this page.thanks to all of us who suffer depression worse during this season. I encourage you to think of something that makes you smile and know in 48 hours ..Christmas day will be over. Breathe. I truly understand you.

    32. Seriously? Spit in their eggnog… If they want homemade.. to bad let them make it themselves. Look I get it I am one who deals with holiday depression.. but to advise me to be an ass to people who probably do care about me and are able to tell that I am not myself… that advice sux. I believe there are many more appropriate ways to deal with holiday sadness. Wake up early and take a long walk on the days you are feeling blue and know you will have to be on for family and or friends.

      1. I think you’ve misunderstood who this article is for. It’s not for non-depressives who are experiencing holiday depression. It’s for people who are going through a major depressive episode. Something as simple as taking a walk might help if you’re feeling “blue,” but it won’t do much for someone who is suffering from depression (if that someone could even manage to take a walk).

    33. Great article.
      I had a severe bout of depress this year. I got lazy about taking my Niacin and it caught up with me. Although I didn’t put any pressure on myself to participate in the madness, this article provided me with much comfort.
      Nov – Dec are really no different than any other time of year. There’s nothing that obligates us morally, socially or religiously to participate in the chaos or the commercialism. There’s nothing that we do doing “the holidays” that we can’t do any other time of the year. Personally, I go into hiding during the holidays. Other than going to work, I’m usually MIA from Halloween through the first week of January.

    34. Well thank you for that inspiring article. (Read Sarcasm) If I need to get more depressed I know who to turn to in the future. Sincerely, Nino

    35. This article really makes a lot of sense. It’s demoralizing that the holidays can make you feel as if you’re less of person because of your lack of interest to participate. For some reason the holidays make you really judge yourself and you become your own worst enemy and critic. It’s sad!

    36. I HATE Christmas and all other holidays. The false sentiments piss me off and make me want to scream. If I didn’t think it would give so many pleasure, I’d off myself but I prefer making these dilusional sheep annoyed that I am still breathing.

    37. You know, I’m surprised that nothing on this site even touched the issue of being single during the Holidays, and how all the family and friends with significant others and families of their own, as well as all the cheesy Holiday movies have happy endings with people falling in love. As the only single person in my family, with no kids, I constantly have to live through the Holidays with a smile painted on my face and tell people I’m happy just to get to spend time with all of them…

      1. Andi I agree about basis you touched.I’m divorced. I’ve been disabled 14 yrs, which has turned my life upside down. My finances are main problem. Living on SSA Im left with never enough to make it month to month. When you’ve lost your home, vehicle, etc., everyone tells you it’ll be alright, but they have no idea. You can’t watch tv without seeing all people getting homes built, vacations and their lives being helped and your happy for them but ask yourself why can’t I get in on that.I record my shows & skip thru commercials all the time. We’re all different and handle life different. I have alienated everyone because they don’t understand. I’m a Christian and believe in God. To all of you, whatever your going through don’t feel guilty if you close your blinds & ignore doorbell. Remember your not alone. Thanks for these suggestions & please if you read this, don’t judge me or anyone sharing. This is about real depression. Its easy to exit site instead of trying to depress someone on herr. May God Bless Us All. I’m going to try & save for a vacation getaway in winter 2015♥

      2. Andi-
        I hear you…you are not alone…well – perhaps you feel that way -around your family…but I am single too–and truly it does SUCK, moreso around these holidays. Then, if you have family members that are heartless to ask “so, why are you single”? bla bla bla. I wish I could go to sleep–and wake up the day after NYE. Seriously. Hate these stupid holidays.

    38. I am glad I ran across this web page. On a good day I am just depressed. Things like stress, holidays and deadlines throw me into a depressive episode. I like how you simplified “how to get through it”. I rarely fine any that is beneficial and realistic for my situation. I thank you for making this available. I will bookmark it for reference and ideals.

    39. Thank you for this insightful and on the mark article. I can unfortunately relate to so much of this. If we were all adults I’d like to think I’d have no trouble saying ‘take this years Christmas and shove it where I don’t have to face it’, but I feel I have to be ‘better’ for the kids. It doesn’t matter how I feel though, this depression does what it wants and that’s pretty much nothing. Just getting together gifts has left me with several panic attacks and absolutely ZERO patience. My mind is like scrambled eggs. Merry Christmas to me :/

    40. Thank you for your excellent Advice. You’ve helped ease the mind of a stressed UK mum who is feeling very overwhelmed this Christmas xxx

    41. Pingback: Seven Foods Against Christmas Depression | Health Beauty Planet

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