Dealing with the Holiday Blues? You’re not alone.


by Naomi Bashan, Opinion Editor

Many characterize the holiday season as the “most wonderful time of year”, but is that sentiment true? Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the stage is set for the rest of the maybe not-so-jolly season. For some, the holidays create distress, known as holiday blues, a phenomenon that shows that although the holidays are generally thought to be a happy, idyllic time, reports of anxiety and depression increase. Here’s my take on how to cure the exceedingly common holiday blues.

The holiday season is about togetherness, drinking warm drinks, and watching snow fall. Unfortunately, it’s taken a turn for the worse. Consumer culture has created a monster of unreasonable expectations, like lavish gifts and perfect family dinners. The holiday season comes with unreasonable expectations, and when they don’t reach fruition, it causes immense disappointment. According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people feel more stressed during the holidays, and only 8% of people feel happier. 

Squeezing into uncomfortable clothes, entering a noisy, packed house, and dealing with relatives and their often invasive questions- that’s the holiday dinner reality. Movies, TV shows, and social media love to bombard us with a vision of the “perfect” family dinner. The truth is that not everyone’s safe space is with their family. My advice to those of you who feel anxious during family gatherings- take a deep breath. The image of a perfect family over the holidays is entirely fake: even tight-knit families face drama over the holidays. Instead of sulking, find joy in the small things, like a holiday movie you watch when you get home, or a gathering with friends the next day.

Furthermore, the marketing world has taken the annual holiday gift tradition and created a monster. The National Retail Federation reports that Americans spend around 800 billion dollars during the holiday season, with 70% of the population over-spending far beyond their budgets. This irresponsible financial behavior piles on the stress of the season. Why are we so caught up with material objects? This year, think of gifts that would better sum up the holiday spirit, like tickets to a show as opposed to an expensive electronic present.

When you feel the holiday season weighing heavy on your shoulders, remember to be grateful for what you do have, instead of envying what you don’t. Relinquish those unreasonable expectations- after all, the holiday season comes once a year, not once in a lifetime.