Monday, 12 December 2011

Blue Christmas



There's a tradition in the Canadian Unitarian Universalist church (and perhaps in other churches as well, I don't know) of having a December event called Blue Christmas. It's a special service of meditation and readings which acknowledge and honour the fact that Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone.

For those who are ill, alone, grieving, depressed or in difficult circumstances, Christmas can be an excruciatingly painful time with its single-minded emphasis on fun, family, jollity and high spirits. Christmas can be salt in the wounds of many.

It's important not to force expectations of Christmas joy and merriment on those who don't feel it for whatever reason. It's okay not to be happy at Christmas and it's okay to need emotional support to get through it. Hugs, understanding and no pressure are the best gifts for us to give.

27 comments:

laurie said...

very well said.
We see this everyday here in our apartment building.There are no children in this building, mostle profession couples, or retirees its not a seniors building but has become one in a way.We have a high number of elderly people in it, I never realized how so many hate the holidays, they will tell you it just reminds them of everytthing they ahve lost, so sad.

sonia said...

I love this idea. The holidays are so emotionally loaded.

CorvusCorax12 said...

great idea

DEZMOND said...

it's true, this is the most difficult of times for depressed people and the lonely ones :(

danjor21 said...

Every year, I become filled with mixed feelings. I always find joy in the holiday spirit. But I get depressed too. I think mainly because I miss all the wonderful Christmas' I experienced as a child. There are other reasons too but I will save it for a blog post.

Lois said...

So very true. It's very hard to keep it all real this time of year. Last Christmas almost did me in. Residual panic this year.

A Beer for the Shower said...

I think it's a delicate balance. While I can't stand people who shove Christmas down other people's throats, I also hate people who are so politically correct that they even cringe at the word 'Christmas.' Sorry, but I'm not calling it 'winter break' or 'winter holiday' or whatever other PC crap that's floating around. Celebrate what you want, call it what you want, and don't force it down each other's throats. There, problem solved.

Jeanne said...

This is a wonderful idea and I wish more people and/or institutions would do this - celebrate a Blue Christmas.
The Holidays have not been a happy, joyous time for the greater part of my Life. And I know the lack of understanding with which that sentiment is received. Sometimes something as simple as a hug can mean a lot!

Francie said...

Thanks for saying this, Debra. I needed to hear it. I'm hoping that message gets out to everyone else who needs to hear it.

mistress maddie said...

How true! It is a very good thing to have groups like this. I always love Christmas, but I remember when I split up with my ex of 11 years, and two months before Christmas, I wasn't in the mood for merriment and joy. I went to my families which was fun. But certain family and freinds were trying to hard to get me in the spirit. I found that made it even worse even, though I knew what they were trying to do. It's nice the option is there for those who want it.

Robin Larkspur said...

More people than can be counted fall into this category. An excellent observance that should be offered wherever people gather. Great post!

Jane said...

Very well said. There are a lot of expectations this time of the year raises, which often go unmet.

Mrs. Workingdan said...

i totally agree!!! i love this time of year but it can be very overwhelming when you have to listen to people buying tvs for their 3 year old, and you can barely afford the coloring book for a stocking stuffer!!!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I remember my first christmas in Hawaii when I was a kid and I got the blue christmas album by ep...sigh*.....

mxtodis123 said...

Many of my clients have a hard time of it during the holiday season. I always try to be there for them, but not to force anything upon them. Happiness and joy comes from within. Sometimes we need that time to grieve.
Mary

Judy said...

I think statistics say that more people die around this time of year...

Plowing Through Life said...

So very true! It is a very difficult time for many people. The best gift you can give this time of year is your time, support and compassion. Visiting the ill, spending time with the lonely elderly in retirement homes, volunteering in shelters, getting in touch with someone who is grieving to tell them you are there for them...should they need a shoulder to cry on or lean on...this is what Christmas is truly all about.

Miss Robyn said...

yes xo

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

A timely and lovely post for many us to just give that little bit of extra thought. When life is great, Christmas time can seem so easy. When life is shitty, it is such a wobbly time for many. Thanks Debra!

Makropoulos said...

Absolutely! It is so important that we not assume that everyone is happy and expectant during this sometimes exhausting holiday. Ah, those Unitarians. . . (I just joined a Unitarian congregation!)

Thalia said...

Just wanted to say that there is a reason that some of those elderly in nursing homes are lonely. Abusive parents end up in nursing homes just like non abusive ones.

Glad to hear that someone out there is acknowledging that the holidays can really, really suck for some of us.

Southpaw said...

So true. The holidays can magnify problems and losses and it's good to remember that.

Boho mom said...

This is a wonderful post and one that hopefully many will read. It's so true and obvious, but we tend to forget everything that doesn't involve malls and cookie baking this time of year.
Kudos to you for these enlightening words on those who experience a Blue Christmas.
peace

laughingwolf said...

exactly so, deb... i have a bud in the southern states who abhors this time of the year... so he celebrates nothing but his constant companions - his dogs...

Tricky Nag said...

Love the idea of the Blue Christmas. The year my grandma died we didn't feel like celebrating, but it was difficult to escape Christmas. It was everywhere. And not one tv channel had any kind of regular programming. Since then I have always thought how awful the season must be for some.

Jim said...

How true this is! We do tend to 'force' ourselves into the holiday spirit of things don't we.
Thanks for this Debra, it gives us a way to appreciate people who for whatever reason are not happy this time of year.

Jenny said...

Thank you.