Managing Christmas Expectations

What could possibly compare to the expectations for Christmas?

Certainly not Christmas. The buildup is so massive, that it typically serves to diminish the day itself.

One of my favorite X-files episodes starred Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as Maurice and Lyda, married ghosts who had killed each other on Christmas Eve, and haunt their house every year on that night, which Mulder and Scully visit.  An exchange between the ghosts I never forgot was this:

MAURICE: Oh, of all days, why did you pick Christmas? Why not Halloween?

LYDA: Now, who is filled with hopelessness and futility on Halloween? Christmas comes but once a year.

MAURICE: You’re right. These two do seem pretty miserable. We need to show them just how lonely Christmas can be.

LYDA: Now that’s the old Yuletide spirit.

Here are a few tips to keep your head straight and your heart open to take in as much of the holiday joy as you can.

A note to those of us that aren’t Christmas celebrators, which actually includes me! It can be hard to be inundated with other peoples’ holiday, and the assumption that you are celebrating as well. As a Jew I always hated it and was additionally offended. Then I had a chance to spend 2 sets of the High Holidays in Israel. I had a chance to feel the buildup of shared joy, being part of a large majority excitedly shopping and decorating and preparing for the holidays.  It was exhilarating.

Since Israel, I have let myself enjoy the seasonal excitement. I have joined other folks in their Christmas celebrations, and smiled and said Merry Christmas in response to their assumption that I am a Christmas celebrator. It gives me a chance to enjoy the energy of the season, and to graciously support many peoples’ favorite time of year.

Happy-enough Holidays to All! 

Smith is and analytically oriented psychotherapist with 25 years in practice. She is additional the  Founder/Director of Full Living: A Psychotherapy Practice, which specializes in matching clients with seasoned clinicians in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

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