Feeling Sadness At Christmas And Ways To Cope

My children grew up listening to the Andy Williams Christmas Album and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” 

But the holiday season is not wonderful for many people. You might be one of them. 

Many people experience Christmas depression and for good reasons. Feeling sadness at Christmas is common and truthfully expected after loss. 

Would you like some ways to help you cope? 

Christmas time is not always a festive season

If you are going through a sorrowful season right now, let me offer my condolences. I have been there myself more than once and know that they can make the holidays particularly difficult.

Loss of relationships

If since last Christmas you have

  • Gone through divorce
  • Lost a child
  • Lost your spouse, the love of your life
  • Lost a parent

… then you most likely are having holiday sadness. Instead of it being the most wonderful time of year, you are probably dreading family gatherings, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, seeing Christmas lights, and everything else that goes along with this time that used to be a festive period. 

Your feelings are real. This is a difficult time.

May I offer you some advice? Please don’t have unrealistic expectations about your emotions at this time. 

Seasonal Depression

For a lot of people, the winter months bring on SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Try as they may, they can’t always maintain a holiday spirit. They want to but it just isn’t there. 

Even though you want to go to social events you may find it difficult. And when those sad Christmas songs come on the radio, you just want to pull a blanket over your head and hide.

Feelings of loneliness

For single women, the holiday season increases their feelings of loneliness. Christmas movies and popular culture emphasize the need to be in a romantic relationship. We live in a “happily ever after culture” which produces Christmas blues in many ladies.

Family conflicts

Family tensions and conflicts create a lot of sad memories. Those relationship problems make Christmas Day a battlefield. Happy times just aren’t in the cards. Worse yet, a safe environment is sometimes destroyed by conflict.

Ways to cope when you are feeling sadness at Christmas

When you are feeling sad, make sure you don’t have unrealistic expectations for the Christmas holiday. 

You can’t always control the circumstances that have come into your life. You also can’t control the people around you. 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”  Victor Frankl

You can only control your own responses and reactions to what life has handed you. Don’t ever expect a “perfect”  Christmas.

Do what you can to improve the lighting around you

Natural light helps our mental state. Open your curtains. Go outside weather permitting. Whenever possible, be in the sunlight. 

Find emotional support

The ideal support comes from a church community group. Some call it a care group. A good church is a group of people who really care about your well-being. 

If you don’t have a good church, find a support group for widows, the divorced, and people with SAD. Truthfully, there are support groups for just about anything nowadays. 

Finally, if you need more support, get professional help. 

Don’t let your sadness escalate into thoughts of suicide. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is 988 in the United States.

Limit negative thoughts

Scripture tells us that we become what we think. So if we are caught up in an avalanche of negativity, we need to take those thoughts captive ASAP.

Negativity will increase feeling sadness at Christmas.

Limit alcohol consumption

Feelings of sadness can drive some people to engage in excessive drinking. It is a quick way to escape your feelings but can have grave consequences. It can slip easily into alcohol abuse.

It is much better to talk to mental health professionals than to go down this road. 

Let the symbols of Christmas remind you of God’s love for you

Many of the traditions of the holiday season can lead us to great Bible truths.  

God knows that we will have periods of sadness in our lives. He understands and offers us comfort through His word and through others who love Jesus.

Rather than fight the traditions that cause more sadness at Christmas, let them be reminders of something better.

Christmas dinner

We are invited to the dinner table of Jesus. This is available to all who have made him Lord or their life.

If you don’t know Jesus, you probably have questions. The people at Chat About Jesus have answers. You can text, call, or chat with them online any time of the day or night.

For today, “He (Jesus) satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9 ESV (explanation added)

And in the future in heaven, “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Luke 13:29 ESV

These are such wonderful thoughts. Feeling sadness at Christmas is real, but it can be turned into something better at dinner time.

Christmas lights

Jesus is the light of the world. But how is that applicable to Christmas lights?

Life can feel dark when we are going through a difficult time. We need the light of Jesus to keep us from stumbling and falling.

He not only lights our way, he walks with us all the way. We are not alone.

White lights can remind us that our sins have been forgiven. (1 John 1:9, Psalm 103:12)

Red lights can remind us that Jesus loved us so much that He gave His blood to save us. (John 15:13, Ephesians 1:7)

Green lights can remind us that God never stops working in our lives to help us grow. (Philippians 1:6)

Christmas music

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11-12 NLT

Right now it might be hard to believe that you will again have reason to dance and sing. But it will happen. It doesn’t come from us. In time, it comes from God. Let Christmas music remind you of that truth. Thank God for this promise.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3

Photo of a sad woman sitting by a decorated tree, feeling sadness at Christmas, and the caption, "God will turn our sadness into joy so that we can sing praises to Him." Psalm 30:11-12 and Psalm 40:3
Feeling sadness at Christmas? God will turn our sadness into joy in time.

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