Because everyone matters
The holiday season is full of people trying to spread joy—whether through singing, giving gifts, or offering one’s time in various volunteering opportunities. Individuals tend to feel the need to be more generous as the year draws to a close. While it’s important to treat people well in every season of the year, the Christmas season makes people feel completely surrounded by love and family—and others experience a sense of downright loneliness. Holidays can often be a reminder of pain and struggles for those who have either lost loved ones or are going through difficult times. The hustle and bustle of the chaos that often surrounds the days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve can add to stress that already exists on a daily basis, causing a case of the holiday blues.
For those who do not have families, or perhaps are in situations in which they have been broken or hurt by family, the holidays can be an even more daunting time than usual. Dr. Robert Hales, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UC Davis, says in the article “Beat the holiday blues—and know when they’re something major” on the UC Davis Health System website that the image of the ideal family not being a reality can often contribute to the sorrow people feel this time of year.
“Frequently during the holiday season, we will see movies that picture ‘the wonderful life,’ exemplified by ‘perfect’ families,” Hales said. “Unrealistic expectations that one’s own family should meet these high standards can be quite depressing,” the article says. Not everyone’s family situation is going to be picturesque, which can be a painful reminder for some individuals.
But you have the opportunity to make people feel loved and appreciated—and it doesn’t take a full wallet or hours upon end to do so. These men and women you know—or perhaps don’t know too well—don’t have to be family members or even close friends. But they do need to know that they matter.
There are many ways to remind people of their value this holiday season:
Send a Christmas card. If you know someone is a bit down this month, make an encouraging Christmas card, and mail it to that person. With so much technology at people’s hands, “snail mail” is not as common as it used to be, but getting mail that isn’t bills or pieces of solicitation can be a breath of fresh air to someone who least expects it.
Leave a thank-you note in your mailbox for the mailman. The individuals who work day after day to make sure family picture Christmas cards and special packages get to your door on time are often overlooked. Leaving a little note to express some gratitude could end up making someone’s day a bit brighter.
Extend an invitation. Don’t shy away from inviting someone you know who is in need of some company to a holiday party or event. Even if your offer is declined, the individual will likely appreciate the gesture. And, if it’s accepted, then you’re giving someone the chance to spend quality time with others and be surrounded by the warmth of love and fellowship.
All people matter, and no one should feel unloved, especially during the holidays. Don’t pass up an opportunity to share some of your love and time with someone who needs it—it’s likely going to make both of your hearts smile.