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Ho ho ho, or humbug. It seems that increasingly, a holiday once thought of as cheerful and joyful is increasingly loaded with people’s feelings of sadness and depression. Why is this, and what can be done about it? Hi, I’m Steve Beaman and welcome to the Emotional Path!

There can be no question that our society is changing. Notwithstanding the enormous impact of immigration, even “home grown” American’s are shifting values and belief systems. So what is it about Christmas that has morphed from a once joyful occasion to an occasion increasingly fraught with depression, and even in some cases, suicide? Well, I won’t pull punches, we’ve gotten caught up in all the surrounding activities, none of which have meaning, and we’ve forgotten the deeper meanings. Like so much of our society, we’ve swapped quality for quantity and replaced sound values with surface ideologies that are empty.

To some point, I’ll even leave the true meaning of Christmas out. But, let us remember that the true meaning of Christmas is that of a Child, born in a very humble manger set to give His life, so that we might enjoy a new and joyful relationship with the Father. Certainly, since the founding of the celebratory Christmas, this has been the core of the day itself. In the Christian world, societies also began to place surrounding activities that were attached to, but not directly related to the birth of the Messiah. Chief among these was Santa Claus, followed closely by the feeling that family, and home were the most important things of this day.

As those human thoughts became increasingly the centerpiece, Christmas like so many things, began to morph into an “internal” thing rather than an external. What I mean by that is that rather than celebrating a gift that was given to us, we began to put the pressure on ourselves to try and provide the emotional lift by giving to others. That is on the surface, a great thing. But in a society driven increasingly by Madison Avenue marketing, we began to feel the pressure of finding “just the right gift”, or getting people enough gifts that they would “know that we cared”

In addition, the desire to have a heart centered home with all the warmth and family as shown in the Currier and Ives picture, leads many to instill upon themselves a pressure that’s almost unbearable; witness National Lampoons Christmas Vacation!

So in a nutshell, we’ve replaced the gift that was given to us, with a Madison Avenue dream of our ability to make others happy. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love all the lights, the childhood memories, my own children’s bright faces, snowmen, Rudolph and all of it. But at the center must be something of meaning, so that these are complimentary to it, not the drivers behind it!

So outside the need we really have to reflect on the nature of this day, there are simple things we can do. First, try real hard not to overload your schedule with obligations. We can only do so much and you must learn to say no. Set your priorities and try to stick with ‘em. Second, and this ones tough, but don’t put yourself in a financial burden just to “look right” to someone else. If the material gift is what a “friend” wants from you, even to your own financial detriment, they’re not worth the gift to begin with. Third, many of the feelings of depression at this time of year come from being alone. I know. I went from Christmas Eve’s putting presents underneath the tree for my children to sitting alone, waiting for the next day when I can pick them up from their Mothers. The best way to deal with this is to find someone to be with. Perhaps you have local Church or Synagogue, or Mosque you can visit. Or perhaps you have newly re-connected friends on Facebook you can talk with. But try as you will to open up and let yourself be engaged with others. Finally, try something different. Perhaps giving of yourself at this time will reinforce to you the true meaning. Work at a homeless shelter, or at a battered women’s shelter. It’s shocking how thankful we become when we see just how fortunate we really are!

I wish you all a very MERRY Christmas and pray that you find the joy, content, and yes the true meaning of this very important and very festive day!

Author's Bio: 

Steve Beaman is the Author of "Happiness & Prosperity in the 21st Century: The Five Paths To a Transformed Life". He has authored over 100 articles relating to the Five Paths including articles on Financial Prosperity, Emotional Wellness, Physical Health, Intellectual fulfillment, and Spiritual Security. He enjoyed a highly successful career in Economics and Finance prior to establishing The Steve Beaman Group. The "SBG" is an organization dedicated to helping people on their journey of life.