Avoid the Holiday Blues and Keep Your Christmas Spirit

by Natasha Tracy - November 20, 2017

Photo Credit: by Gixster92,
Photo Credit: by Gixster92,

Many of us experience “holiday blues.” This isn’t a mental illness and it isn’t indicative of season affective disorder, per se, it’s just a down period as the holidays come upon us. Holidays like Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and even notable shopping days like Black Friday can all bring on the holiday blues. This might be because of family complications, loneliness, not having the money you want for gift-buying, increased stress or feeling down around the holidays for other reasons you can’t put your finger on. No matter what’s causing your holiday blues though, you can fight them and enjoy this holiday season.

Avoid the Holiday Blues by Removing Shopping Stress

Shopping stress might be the most common reason for the holiday blues as finding the “perfect” gift is a lot of pressure for anyone to withstand. Not only is the “perfect” gift the goal, even if one decides on that gift, one often doesn’t have the money to afford it. Sure, your husband might love a drone under the tree, but you may not have the disposable income for a self-flying robot.

If you do decide to buy gifts this season, try to remember that there is no “perfect” gift and more money does not equal more happiness. Sure, buying a car for someone might put a smile on his or her face temporarily, but no one wants a loved one to be under the burden of such bills come January.

Other tips to help remove shopping stress and enjoy the holidays include:

Plan a holiday budget. That will help you from experiencing stress in January when the credit card bills are due.

Don’t leave gift-shopping to the last minute. Stress mounts when you feel the pressures of the clock along with the pressures of gift-buying. Buying early and buying online can reduce gift-purchasing stress.

If you do find yourself needing to purchase a gift at the last minute, try a gift card. Almost every store sells them and as a bonus, there’ll be no time in line required to return unwanted gifts as the receiver can choose his or her own. A donation to an organization such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation made in a person’s name can be both fast and impactful as well.

Take care of yourself when shopping. Remember, hitting the malls isn’t just about the other person, you have to remember your own comfort and health too. Eat quality food and wear comfortable shoes before heading out on that gift-buying expedition. Also remember to pause and take slow, deep breaths if you’re feeling overwhelmed. A calmer you is a happier you and a happier you is one that’s avoiding the holiday blues.

Try valet parking and gift-wrapping services to save time. Remember, there are services out there to make your shopping experience easier. You may have to pay for valet parking with money, but you save time, which might be worth more to you at this time of year. Gift wrapping is often free and saves you time and money later on.

Social Obligations and the Holiday Blues

Sometimes people feel the holiday blues because they are pulled in too many directions, socially, at once and, on the other hand, people sometimes experience the holiday blues because of social isolation at this time. Both of these extremes can have negative consequences and keep you from enjoying the holiday season.

If you’re the kind of person who’s on everyone’s holiday list for parties and gifts, you need to slow down and take stock of what you really want. You don’t want to be at so many holiday gatherings that you have no time for yourself and holidays tasks. You also don’t want to be roped into holiday gatherings that you don’t want to be at. So set limits for yourself. Explain to others that you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t make every gathering. And if you choose not to attend an event, sending a thank-you card is a great way to tell the host or hostess that you appreciate his or her invitation.

Also set limits for other responsibilities during this time. No, you can’t handle a Christmas Eve open house plus a Christmas breakfast and gift-opening, plus a holiday dinner all on your own. Ask for help and spread out the responsibilities. Pot-luck dinner anyone?

The Holiday Blues Because of Feeling Lonely

Being lonely at this time is definitely a reason for the holiday blues for some people. Some people don’t have the family they want to spend time with, while others choose not to spend time with their family for personal reasons. Either way, it can feel like you’re facing the holiday season alone and lonely. If this is you, consider these tips:

Pick up a winter hobby or join a group doing what you enjoy. These planned activities give you places to be and people to be with. For example, join a photography club and take advantage of capturing those gorgeous snowy vistas.

Volunteer at a non-profit. Volunteering can be extremely rewarding and is very appreciated by your local community. Plus, you have the benefit of meeting other volunteers who care just as much about the cause as you do.

Watch for free holiday events. There are often tree-lighting ceremonies, groups of carolers and other celebratory happenings in the community during this time of year. Take part in these or go and enjoy them as a spectator. Being part of your community can make you feel less alone.

Putting the ‘Holiday’ Back in the ‘Holiday Season’

No matter what kind of holiday you are celebrating this winter, it’s important to remember that this time of year is about celebration and not about accompanying stress. Do what it takes to avoid the holiday blues and you, and those around you, will be all the better for it.


Canadian Mental Health Association Alberta, 8 Tips For Mental Wellness During the Holidays. Retrieved November 17, 2017.

Rosalie Moscoe, Tips of Avoid Holiday Shopping Stress. Health in Harmony. Retrieved November 17, 2017.


Natasha Tracy is a professional writer and author for and Bipolar Burble. She currently works as a freelancer for

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