Feeling Sad at Christmas? Even Santa gets the blues. What you can do about holiday sadness.

Ho Ho Hum-bug: Santa Has the Holiday Blues

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Ho Ho Hum-Bug: Santa Has the Blues.

By Shana Parker

While shopping at the mall last week I overheard Santa on his hot chocolate break saying to an elf, “while I tend to be one of the more upbeat people I know even I cannot compete with all that glitter. I get sad around the holidays.”

“I know,” said the Elf, “It’s supposed to be a season of joy. Its supposed to be a season of beautiful decorated trees, loving harmonious family dinners, and unlimited abundance. But no one has a picture perfect life.”

“All I feel like saying right now is ‘Ho Ho Hum-bug!’” Santa confided, getting whip cream on his beard.

His wise Elf continued, “the truth is Santa, almost everyone has sad, upset feelings at Christmas time. There is no way to compete with the picture perfect ideal we see on line and in commercials everywhere. We all have had loss, disappointment and lets face it- reality in our lives.”

“What makes the sadness and melancholy worse,” the wise Elf continued, “is when it bubbles up, we go into comparing our emotional state to some artificial picture of feeling all warm and fuzzy and come up short. Then we judge ourselves, our lives, even our worth. We think we should all be- well to put it bluntly- jolly.”

“So what?” Santa groaned. “How am I gonna go back to my post and look happy?”

“I’m glad you asked!” said the Elf. “Here is what Mrs. Elf has said to me over the years that has helped when I feel blue around Christmas.”

“Mrs. Elf  says:

  1. Tell the truth to yourself about what you are sad about during the holidays.

For me it’s usually about people I miss. I especially miss those people who have died, or moved away from the North Pole. I also feel sad that I don’t have more money to spend on people I love. And sometimes I even feel lonely because I don’t have more friends and family to celebrate with. Now that sounds strange I know.

  1. Really let yourself feel your sadness and notice it will come like a wave and then it go back out to sea.

If you don’t let yourself feel it you will just get all clogged up and you won’t be able to feel the joy when it comes.

I found myself crying when I unpacked the decorations yesterday and found an angel someone gave me to remind me of my little girl who had died. After a few minutes I put on some carols and my heart felt lighter.

3. If you have someone to share it with then tell him or her how you feel and you won’t feel so alone with it.

I always tell Mrs. Clause how painful this season is for me and why. Then a friend and I always commiserate about how commercial everything has gotten.

4. Get a mental or actual photo of yourself when you were younger.

Now  imagine putting him or her on your lap- as though you were Santa- and tell them ‘its ok to be sad.’ Your grown up self can be there for them. And ask is there something they need from you?

I was surprised to find that my younger Elf self said he wanted me to find his favorite cookies at the store and after eating a few give some to the shelter for homeless families.”

5. Most important remember- even Santa gets the blues.

And after you have let yourself be sad for as long as you need to, then find 3 things you are grateful for.

Like I always say Life is both dark and light. So why shouldn’t Christmas be like that? Lets not make it worse by pretending it shouldn’t be!”

When the Elf finished talking  I heard Santa say “Ho Ho Humbug” and then he started to laugh.

I ordered another hot chocolate so I could watch him as the kids filed up.

A tear fell as I watched. I couldn’t tell if it was joy or sorrow.

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Shana Parker

Couples Coach, Licensed Psychologist, a well loved wife, proud mother, and writer.