Thursday, December 13, 2007

yuletide blues and gratitude

"I sort of feel disconnected from everyone", Belly said softly. "Everyone's just so busy - I don't get time to talk to anyone."

Another friend wrote a blog post about feeling lonely in her own home, surrounded by kids and husband, despite the rapidly approaching festive season. 'It shouldn't be like this', she seemed to be saying.

I'm also feeling a little pensive. Belly was right - we get so busy attending Christmas functions (during which we buzz here and there, talk to this person and that, but rarely touch on anything more than the superficial) that we get stressed and harangued and lose the closeness to loved ones that we all so desire. We find ourselves sitting on the back deck with our beagles (or labradors, or Great Danes, or whatever!)

I always tell my patients that Christmas is never a good time to stop their anti-depressants. It's just too much. Too much family bickering, too many parties to attend and meals to cook, too much brandy eggnog, too many gifts to buy in crowded shopping malls, too many hours spent together in close proximity. We all adore the idea of Christmas .... it just doesn't always live up to expectations.

So if we aforementioned women - all women who have families who love us, challenging professions, plenty of food, safe homes, decent clothing, and good health - if we privileged and fortunate women feel inexplicably bereft with the approach of Christmas, then how do less fortunate women or men feel? How does it feel when your child asks for a remote-controlled jeep and you know the budget will only stretch to a supermarket Matchbox car? How does it feel to know the only Christmas dinner you'll be eating is baked beans on toast? How does it feel to know that your alcoholism/drug habit/mental illness has driven away everyone you ever loved, including your own family?

I don't know how it feels. I can only try to comprehend. I can try to comprehend, and then I can shake myself a little and put a minor mood swing into perspective. Because even if Christmas can become hurried and hassled, the goodness and giving is in there somewhere to be found. I'm going to sit and write some heartfelt Christmas cards tonight. I'm going to squeezehug my husband when he gets home from playing squash. And next week, Belly and I have a date for coffee, dessert and girl talk. Christmas is going to be flawed yet fabulous this year!

To all of you who take the time to read and to comment here - to leave witty, inspiring, empathetic or just plain silly comments on my blog .... thank you. Your support and friendship to me is one of the most truly Christmas-y things there is! And if any of you have been struck with a touch of the Yuletide Blues - fear not; you are not alone. I propose we all drink some spiced cider, hold hands in a circle (swaying a little from the cider), and sing "Auld Lang Syne" kind of off-key but spiritedly.

You are some of the most funny, interesting and kind people I have met. I am grateful to 'know' you.


Susan said...

It is a sad but true phenomenon of Christmas, the depression, the 'blues'. Reminds me of Elvis, "I'll have a bluuuee Christmas..."

Thanks for the pep talk!

Count me in for the spiced cider and swaying circle! Have a good one!

Alipurr said...

very sweet, & exactly what I needed today....

actually I came over here to share something silly & trivial w/you
& here I find that what you wrote are words I need to hear today

knowing you have a little girl who might like pretty scarves, hats etc, I found this blog from this Australian lady who crochets...& i wanted to give you the address of her blog:

and the address of the cute items she has for sale on etsy:
(sorry i don't know the code to make that a real link)
anyway, stopping for a few minutes from the business to say hi & merry christmas

Remiman said...

Count me in friend of my heart!

Heather said...

The pleasure is all mine, Jelly dear.


Texas2Tennessee said...

"I don't know how it feels."

I once lived "the American dream" and too felt the pressures of Christmastime. Today, as one who lives below the poverty level, I cannot afford to be the consumer I once was. What I can afford to do is spend, in human currency, the gifts of love, laughter, gratitude, respect, time and patience for those who I love and who love me in return.

My wish for you and your family during this holy season are cherished moments together that will become warm and lasting memories in your hearts and minds.

TUFFENUF said...

It makes me happy to have a friend on the other side of the planet. I am happy that you have the ability to eloquently express what we are all feeling. Thanks for being here on blogger for all of us.

thisisme said...

Jelly, I'm so there for the cider and the circle. You've hit the nail on the head well and truly today.

To answer your question on my blog, send an email to if you are interested in joining The 55 - you can read the post at too

meggie said...

The Realm of Blog can bring some wonderful friends & moments & feelings of sheer joy!
I think Christmas has turned into something that most of wish was not happening.
It can be a very hard time of year for the unfortunate, & the lonely, as you say.
I do count my blessings for what I have. I wish I did more for those who dont have much.
I would like to stand in your circle!

Val said...

I prescribe a meal cooked with love, followed by a moderate amount of rich egg nog, and all preceded by avoidance of shopping malls. Works for me! But a younger self did sometimes feel a bit weepy at this time. It's the expectations that because it's Christmas, we HAVE to all be jolly. Just doesn't happen that way.

I wish you all the best at this time of year, Jelly, and know you will lovingly prepare a wonderful meal for your family. "See you" in the new year.

mackeydoodle said...

I continually find it amazing how I can "bond" with people all over the world.
Your spirit shines through your words Jelly & it is a pleasure to know you.

John Cowart said...

You're my kind of doctor; you prescribe spiked cider... Oh, that's spiced cider. Never mind.

Redneck Mommy said...

I'm a big bag of holiday blues over here. But I'm faking it well...or at least I hope so.

Maybe I need to pour some rum into the eggnog...

Sandy said...

Your post is so on target and that's exactly how I feel. A friend sent me an inspirational writing today to cheer me up, it's about how we expect too much and expect everything to be perfect and jolly, but thats just not how it is and we shouldn't punish ourselves into expecting everything to be perfect for the holidays. It's just not going to happen and we shouldn't make ourselves miserable.

Apparently many of us our experiencing the yuletide blues, and yes, there are those less fortunate than us, so we should be thankful for each day we are healthy and have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat, and of course for having such a nice understanding friend like you.

Now where's the spiked eggnog and count me in on that circle.

Heidi said...

I hate to say this, but I have no yuletide blues... just feeling a bit busy and want things to slow down so I can enjoy them even more. Lots of times we get together with people around this time of year and then don't do it at other times... need to make a decent New Year's resolution (and keep it) to get together with loved ones more often.

Anyway... I am so glad that I have come upon your blog, Jelly. Thanks always for your kind comments, too.

fifi said...

oh, christmas is HARD!

Your post captures just how I feel.(as usual)
Seems my family shrinks with every year...and noone seems to have the christmas spirit at all. Friends get neglected... you realise you havent spoken to some people for months.
Family tensions just explode, there is such a perceived notion of "achieving" the perfect christmas experience, the childrens faces kit up, the table full of festive cheer...
My children will no doubt be fighting. they wont get excited about the food, they will behave appalingly.
Last year one of them hurled unwanted gifts down the stairs, and is about 10 years too big to be doing that!
But still. I will make the most of the fact that for the time being, I am healthy, I have both parents and I can afford to lay the table with nice food.

I'll be in the circle, singing in a strange operatic out of tune voice, but I will be very happy to be there.

(ps, you sent me yr email, here is mine, i meant to reply. Feel free to call by if your'e around!

Mimi said...

Jelly, you are such an excellent writer. You have exactly summed up what I am going through right now. I was determined not to get overwhelmed but have managed to anyway.


shellyC said...

I'll join you in the circle too, however I'll have to swap the cider (gross!) for something else bubbly and I will sing loud, proud and really off key!!

Fabulous post! My Christmas wish is that you continue to write your wonderful posts - all year!!

Puss-in-Boots said...

Right, spiced cider, Auld Lang Syne...sounds pretty good to me, Jelly.

However, all joking aside. I've had one or two wretched Christmases in the past and now I embrace the happy ones wholeheartedly. Christmas is at my place this year, and I've had fun decorating my tree and shopping for presents; planning the menu and discussing with my daughters what to buy the kids; ignoring Mum when she says, as she does every year, no Christmas presents this year, we've got's just wonderful and I love it and I make the most of it, to make up for the sad Christmases past.

Susan said...

You have been tagged with: "Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends." Pick up your instructions here.

Have fun! Merry Christmas!

Kerri said...

Spiced cider sounds delicious, and I love singing Auld Lang key and swaying a little.
Christmas is a good time to reflect on the difficulties some must cope with and do what we can to help.
No Yuletide blues here, but feeling rather too busy!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas Jelly.
It's a real pleasure to know you :)

Sandy said...

Merry Christmas sweet Jelly to you and to all of your family. It has been a joy to read about the adventures in your life this past year and to be able to get to know you just a little bit better. I hope that we can continue being friends throughout the coming years.

Best Wishes,

Heidi said...

Merry Christmas, Jelly.