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Feeling Sad? Get in Touch with the Holidays

Sad girl in santa hat. Child isolated on whiteMy great grandmother who lived to be 102 said the best medicine for unhappiness was to get busy. When Gram lost her mojo, she’d ironed, washed windows and made beds.

People often get depressed around major holidays. They might miss deceased loved ones. They might long for the fun and excitement of the holidays of their youth. They might be alone. They might be affected by the fall/winter darkness. If you’re struggling with major depression, see a doctor. But if you’re just a little unhappy, I have a fix that might work for you.

Actually, I’ve been a little out of sorts as it nears toward Thanksgiving and Christmas 2016. (The election didn’t help.) But I’ve noticed that something is helping to decrease my blues.

I’m actively preparing for the holidays this year. Instead of squeezing in shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, enjoying holiday music and giving to charity, I’m doing it a little bit at a time, and it’s really fun!

Below are some tips to help rid you of your unhappy thoughts by tuning into the holidays. Buy some nice food

Yesterday, I happened to find myself at the grocery store at 7:00 AM.  It was a Sunday.  I was the only shopper in the place. The solitude gave me the opportunity to contemplate things like baked brie and water crackers and how much I love them. I wandered over to the cheese department. There, in the cooler was a small round of brie cheese. I thought “wouldn’t it be lovely to serve this as an appetizer before Thanksgiving?” I put it into my shopping cart. Nearby was a box of water crackers. I dropped those in, too.

But I didn’t stop there. I picked up a turkey for Thanksgiving and a big ham for Christmas.

  • Clean your house.
    A messy, dirty house can be very depressing. You probably won’t be partying much in a home that looks like you’ve been hoarding for years. Why not spend a weekend, picking up the clothes and dirty dishes and extra paper and junk mail that are floating around your home? Clear off surfaces; you’ll be amazed that when the clutter goes, your mood will lift. And you’ll feel like bringing friends into your place.

    Concentrate on one room at a time. Tackle the kitchen first.  This is the place where guests like to hang. Sweep the floor, mop. Clear off the surfaces. Spray everything down with a good cleaning spray. Light a candle. Move to the living room and the dining rooms. Pick everything up; then, vacuum. You’ll be humming a tune of happiness in no time.

  • Decorate
    After I cleaned my kitchen, I laid out some harvest placemats I picked up new at the thrift store. (Decorating doesn’t have to cost a lot.) I can’t tell you the joy it brought me to see my kitchen clean with Thanksgiving placemats on the table. On top of the placemats, I set out turkey paper napkins. In the dining room, I placed a Thanksgiving tablecloth on the table that I picked up at Kohl’s. It screamed holiday cheer. And on top of the tablecloth, I set some stained glass candle holders in fall colors. It’s a week before Thanksgiving, but I’m enjoying the mood with the fall colors and emblems all throughout my space.

    And I’m even gearing up for Christmas. This year, I’m decorating a room I never bother with — the bathroom. I purchased a Christmas shower curtain and matching hand towels.

    This year, think about getting beyond just the basic Christmas tree. Think of ways to make all of your rooms reflect the season.

  • Bake
    I’ve never done it before, but this season, I’m going to bake dozens of Christmas cookies. I’ll do it a little bit at a time. The operative word here is “freeze.” I’ll bake and freeze my goodies. And then, at Christmas, I’ll hand out paper plates of cookies covered with Saran to my holiday guests. Can I really be the hostess with the mostess? I’m going to try.
  • Play holiday music.
    I honestly think that the middle of November is not too soon to start playing Christmas music. “Deck the Halls” and “Silent Night.” “Jingle Bells.” “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
  • Spread the good cheer around
    Don’t forget to give to your favorite charities this year. Many are or will be suffering due to possible government cuts. Don’t forget your neighbors.

Yes, the holidays (and post-election days) can be a bit unsettling, but do like Gram did.  Get busy!  Jump into the holidays with gusto. You’ll feel better. Really you will.

Feeling Sad? Get in Touch with the Holidays

Laura Yeager

Laura Yeager has been writing for over 35 years. Some of her favorite topics include mental health, writing, religion, parenthood, dogs, and her day-to-day life. She is a mental health writer for Her articles about writing have appeared in The Writer Magazine, The Toastmaster Magazine, and Her spiritual writing has been featured in several venues including Aleteia USA, Busted Halo, The Liguorian Magazine, Canticle Magazine and Guideposts Magazine. A graduate of The Writers' Workshop at The University of Iowa, Laura teaches writing at Kent State University and online Creative Writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York.

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APA Reference
Yeager, L. (2018). Feeling Sad? Get in Touch with the Holidays. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 23 Nov 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.