Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Winter Holiday Traditions

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Content warning: mental health

To be perfectly honest with you all, the winter holiday season is something I do not look forward to at all.

Frozen red fruit covered in a thin layer of frost and hanging from a bent tree branch. the background is blurry but shows many other tree branches covered in snow and frost. I get the winter blues every year, so the lack of sunlight at this time of year dampens my mood in and of itself. (Seriously, Ontario. Why must you be such a cold and dark place now? Ha.)

I used to work in a field that was horribly busy during the winter holiday season. This meant that I worked weird, late hours, couldn’t eat meals at the same time every day, was often sleep deprived, and had a much higher chance than usual of running into impatient, furious, and unkind customers multiple times every single day. (The vast majority of our customers were perfectly lovely people, of course, but the bad apples made an already difficult time of year so much worse).

The relatives I wish I could spend the holidays with live far away. This can be a lonely time of year to be so far away from them.

So when the holidays start threatening to roll around again, I need an action plan to deal with my low mood, bad memories, and loneliness. My goal each year is to find the joy in what I can and do everything I can to minimize or eliminate anything that fills me with a sense of dread.

What sorts of things do I like to do?


1) Look at Christmas, New Years, Chanukah and other holiday lights. Toronto is filled with them, and it makes me so happy.

2) Splurge on delicious food. For example, I might go out to an upscale restaurant for one night or buy that fancy cut of meat, vegan advent calendar, or non-local type of fruit or vegetable at the grocery store that I’d usually be too thrifty to add to the grocery cart.

3) Send care packages to loved ones. Shipping to the U.S. from Canada is expensive, but it’s so worth it to get their excited texts when the goodies arrive. There’s nothing like the joy of giving.

4) Play Christmas music. This is kind of funny because I don’t really celebrate Christmas otherwise. Some of those carols are beautiful and have really stood the test of time, though!

5) Celebrate the Winter Solstice with a walk and special meal. I’ll do the walk outdoors if the weather permits it, but the food is always eaten indoors because December is so cold and dark. The menu changes around most years but often includes pie because that’s such a delicious dessert. No, I’m not pagan….I’m simply always relieved to finally have more sunlight on the way, and what better way to celebrate than with food?

6) Say no. I set aside the last two weeks of December as a time to rest. Unless it’s something mandatory, urgent, or a fun social event that I genuinely can’t wait to attend, I say no to a lot of things I normally say yes to. I simply don’t have the emotional energy now that I do in other seasons, and that’s okay.

7) Reread and rewatch classic Christmas and winter stories. I find it comforting to revisit tales like A Christmas Carol or A Christmas Story in December.

8) Choose kind and pleasant people. I can get along with anyone and have a history of bending over backwards to include folks that might not be included on many other guest lists for any number of reasons. With that being said, I trim down the list of people I’m willing to spend time with to folks who have a solid history of being wonderful and empathetic human beings when December rolls around and my emotional energy has worn thin. It doesn’t matter if we’re legally related or how we know each other. Anyone who is a joy to socialize with is happily invited to hang out with me now.


Filed under Blog Hops, Personal Life

10 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Winter Holiday Traditions

  1. I am so sorry that the season is hard for you (and I certainly understand why) but kudos to you on creating strategies for getting through them. I find myself happily immersed in Christmas music and Christmas movies on while I work.

  2. I imagine the season is much darker and colder in those high latitudes! Down here the trees are leafless but it’s entirely possible that we’ll be wearing shorts and t-shirts in late December. It sounds like you have made some good ways to manage the gloom, though!

  3. You know, Lydia, I’m the opposite. I get down in the sunmer. I always thought SAD (seasonal affective disorder) only occurred for the winter months, but I recently learned it can also work the other way around for some people. I can’t stand the heat and I’m not a fan of sunshine. Give me rain or snow and dark nights any day. Also, I related to your list so hard.

  4. I get the winter blues; I leave work at 5pm and it’s already dark and then I don’t want to do anything, then I get into some depression but when I do nothing for too long, my body says “oh, I guess we’re depressed now”, plus the SAD.
    Yes, always pie. I like most pies and I think pie is a key indulgence this time of year.
    Not sure if it would work for you, but I got a Himilayan Salt Lamp that help a bit. I also try to soak in the sun when it’s out and have plenty of lights on at home until I actually go to bed.
    I hope this winter is a little easier on you!

  5. If I were rich I’d send you an Ott-Lite–a bright little lamp that’s designed to give more full-spectrum light rather than bluish or yellowish. Some people with SAD say they help. They definitely help crafters choose truer colors when working in the evening! They are just a bit brighter than I like. If I had one I’d probably turn it to face a wall.

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