The holiday season tends to stir up many emotions, and various research shows how Christmas time can negatively impact mental health.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holiday season has been portrayed to be a time that families should spend together and make memories with one another. Cliché holiday movies always show big families or groups of friends getting together to celebrate the season and exchange gifts.
In the popular movie Home Alone, the main character Kevin is left alone during Christmas; his family accidentally leaves him behind to go for a vacation together. However, the writers portray those who are truly alone and without family during Christmas as beat-up looking criminals (Harry and Marv). Although Kevin is technically alone during the Christmas break, he is shown to have a huge family who is desperate to get home to him.
Despite this movie just being a comical display of what happens when Kevin is left alone in a big house; one may analyze deeper to wonder if the writers had any meaning in how they portray those who are alone during Christmas time (Harry and Marv). In the second movie, they again show another woman who is alone during Christmas time (pigeon lady) as someone who is dirty, estranged, living in an attic and only talks to birds.
Enough of rambling on about Christmas movies… But on a real note, there are a lot of people who do spend the holidays alone that aren’t criminals or pigeon ladies.
Numerous studies examine how there is an increase in dysphoric moods (broad feelings of depression & discontent) during the holidays. Many people don’t have big families or groups of friends to celebrate the holidays with. Additionally, many don’t have the savings or steady income to afford the holiday expenses.
Christmas tends to be a very expensive time of year. Based on a survey distributed by the Retail Council of Canada, on average, Canadians will spend close to $800 on Christmas this year. However, I am certain that there are households that will spend much more! Spendings on gifts, decorations and on holiday party festivities can add up very quickly; and don’t even get me started on the stress that comes along with planning a holiday gathering!
Some of us may be dreading being alone this season or dreading seeing their in-laws. Either way, Christmas has become much less exciting versus when we were kids.
With the holiday season beginning, I urge you to be conscientious about checking in with your friends and family. Some may be struggling silently with the overwhelming feelings that this time of year brings. Try to practice mindfulness during this season and find peace within whatever it is you do.
Wishing all a very safe and happy holidays!