It’s OK to Be Sad: Embracing the Blue Christmas

I’m just not feeling festive this year. At all.

close up of pine branches

Maybe it’s because time seems to be running faster than I’ve ever known before. My kids are getting older, in that middle age between toddler and tween. There is still magic in Christmas for them, and I’ve been waiting for their excitement to kick me into gear. But, alas, I’m still waiting.

For as fast as it’s flown by, it’s been a long year. And I know I’m not alone.

It feels like everyone in my life is struggling; grieving the loss of a parent. Coping with ailing health or navigating loving someone who is suffering. Dealing with unexpected bad news, job loss, divorce, and more. And if you follow world news or current events, it’s hard to have hope.

My life is pretty charmed, but I’ve got personal struggles too. And they just feel so heavy.

Putting up our Christmas tree last week, listening to familiar songs and trying to get in the mood for all the upcoming joy, I held back tears. {Ok, sometimes I just let them fall and tried to hide my face from my kids, if I’m being really honest.}

box of blue and silver ornaments

In my personal life, my sister is very sick. My little sister, the one I have always felt some level of protectiveness over. I can’t help her. It’s been a full year of no one being able to help her, even so-called experts. This grief is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

My only still-living grandparent is declining, quickly. It’s dementia, and it was one of her worst fears. It feels like an incredibly bitter pill to swallow, recognizing what a merciful blessing it would be for this to be my beloved Gram’s last Christmas.

And on, and on.

I know you could tell me your “Blue Christmas” story, too. I’m sure you have one. Everyone does.

So how can we shake these blues off and show up for our kids during this holiday season full of awe, wonder, and also a million and four tasks and obligations that fall on every mother’s shoulders?

Maybe, we can’t. And maybe…that’s ok, too.

silver package and ornaments on teal background

Life is both/and. Incredible joy, “a thrill of hope”, but also suffering, pain, and the unanswerable question: Why?

To feel those feelings, hold that grief, but find moments of release– maybe this should be our goal this holiday.

Seek to find something joyful in each day, but don’t live in fear of the darkness. To be alive means to experience both.

I won’t tell you to seek out all the things that have brought you happiness or festive feelings in the past. They might not work the same way this year.

Breathe deeply. Stretch. Meditate. Read something for pleasure. Seek out the people and things that, even if they aren’t bringing you joy, protect your peace.

And remember: you are not alone. Your feelings are valid. This is one year, one holiday season. There will be others so Merry and Bright that you will wonder how it ever wasn’t so.

You will keep growing. So will your children. They will make memories and experience holiday magic even if your heart remains heavy this season.

The world will keep spinning. It’s not up to you to force it.

Embrace the Blue Christmas if that’s where you’re at. It’s alright to be sad.

{But also, if you need it, reach out for help. 988 is the National Suicide Prevention hotline. Don’t suffer in silence.}

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Mary B
Mary B. is a lifelong creative, dreamer, and joy seeker. Born and raised in northern Illinois, Mary attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, receiving her B.F.A. in acting, then worked as a sometimes actress/model, sometimes waitress. Mary and her husband got married in Sept 2012, welcomed a son in 2014, moved to Texas from Chicago in 2016, and welcomed a daughter in 2017, completing their family. She self-publishes her musings on marriage, motherhood, and life on her blog, Accidentally Texan,. In her free time {free time--ha!} Mary loves to read, cook {and eat ;)}, work out, swim, travel, and spend time with her family. Mary believes emotional connection is the root of humanity and our collective purpose in life.


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