For many, around this time of year, we start to feel something; something we can’t explain. You’ve just had two of the greatest months ever, you should be feeling amazing, but you don’t. You’re what can only be described as, depressed. Anxious. Sad. Why is this? Maybe you’re afraid to tell people, but trust me, I know why.
I want to talk about what many people are feeling around this time of year, but don’t worry. Just weather through it, it will pass. After all, it only happens every single year.
Since we were born, every year around November time starts the winter holiday season. If you’ve made it to November then you’ve probably done quite well for yourself, you’ve managed to survive most of the year without dying in a world filled with death and terrors.
This year alone hundreds of thousands of people have died before their time either by acts of terrorism, murder or natural disasters. Believe me, with the state planet Earth is in at the moment, you’ve done well.
It’s almost a treat for those of us unaffected by the death toll that we celebrate the end of the year with friends and family.
This tends to start around the end of October/start of November with Halloween and Bon Fire Night. Children go out trick or treating, they’re taken to firework displays, gather around huge fires, drink, eat, laugh.
Similarly the adults do mostly the same, they visit family and friends, drink alcohol, eat food like it’s going out of fashion. This is when the festive period begins.
It’s around November time when most (sane) people start to do their Christmas shopping. All the way from the start of November, the start of the festive period, this is when the levels of excitement start to build. Buying gifts for loved ones, imagining the looks on their faces when they unwrap it, the anxiousness of hoping they don’t get it before Christmas day, whether they’ll like it or not but you can’t help it, this is what you’re getting them whether they have it or not. You needn’t worry about spending so much, because you like shopping for gifts, you’re having fun. Money doesn’t mean anything at the end of the year. You’ve been building up all year for this.
At the same time you’re wondering what you’ll be getting for Christmas, as the days of November go on, you start hearing Christmas songs on the radio, you see more and more Christmas decorations in shops, adverts online, Thanksgiving arrives for American’s, a reminder that Christmas is just one month away. A day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday hits shops all over the world trying to sell the public their items at a slight discount, too slight for it to matter to them but slight enough that members of the public will kill each other just to by a 50 inch television for £100 less than it’d normally cost, a television they didn’t even know they needed until it was Black Friday.
December arrives, advent calendars are opened by children and adults alike everywhere, the true count down to Christmas day. Every day for the next 24 days, a depressing little piece of chocolate is digested. The Christmas songs on radio intensifies. Carol singers start lining the streets wrapped up in Christmas coloured attire. Children go and sit on some old man claiming to be Santa Claus’ knee to tell them what they want for Christmas.
Final Christmas presents are purchased, wrapping paper sales goes through the roof, countless tree’s, hundreds of years old are turned into nothing more a bit of sparkly paper for the purpose of one morning.
Now you begin to look forward to some time off of work. Sure you’ve had a holiday off here and there, but this is different, you’re spending time with all of your favourite people, you get to make them happy by providing them with presents, you’re excited to get presents in return. Work nights out are arranged and had, you make a fool of yourself in front of everyone but it’s all good, you’re breaking up for work at the end of the week.
Before you know it, you’ve had 24 tiny pieces of chocolate and Christmas day is tomorrow. Your excitement levels are through the roof, the kids are in bed listening out for sleigh bells. You can barely contain yourself and find it hard to get to sleep but eventually you’ve dropped off into a deep slumber.
What seems like minutes later, the kids are jumping up and down, it’s CHRISTMAS DAY! All of that excitement explodes as you rush downstairs, tear open gifts, laugh and cry at what you’ve received, laugh and cry at what you’ve given your partners. Hugs, kisses, gifts, things you don’t need but always wanted. Surely this is the greatest day of your life!
You have your Christmas dinner, eat far too much but you’ve still got room for desert. Before you know it Christmas day is over, you’re settled in bed with your new things, all the food puts you right to sleep, but it’s okay because you’ve got Boxing Day, you’ve more family and friends to visit, maybe you’ve got pubs to visit and use it as an excuse to get drunk and you’ve definitely got more food to eat.
Boxing Days over, but it’s fine! You’ve got New Years Eve to look forward to. Doesn’t matter that you’re back in work between Christmas and New Year, it’s going to be quiet, it’s going to be easy and then you get to see your friends again for some New Years partying. Maybe you’ve got the week in between off, even better!
December 31st is here, New Years Eve; you’re either out in pubs and clubs getting hammered or you’re at a friend’s house, either way, alcohol is involved and you’re having fun. The clocks racing and midnight has finally arrived. New Years Day. Fireworks go off all over the world (at different times due to time-zones of course), people kiss, embrace one another, so much hope for what’s to come.
Then it’s over.
It’s January again.
Everything you have to look forward to has passed. All you’re left with is cold weather, early nights and a sense of dread of what is to come. Better take those Christmas decorations down, no sense living in a fantasy world.
The January sales starts in many shops and online retailers, but what’s the point? You haven’t got any money, you’ve just had a two month spending binge. Now you’re struggling to pay your bills and put food on your table, you don’t want to see things you want at half price. Even at half price you can’t afford it.
Oh God, why did you spend all of that money?! You’ve spent it on things that’ll be in a cupboard or a bin by the end of the month. You could have booked a holiday with what you’ve spent.
You’ve eaten HOW MUCH?!
Where are you going to put all this crap you’ve been given for Christmas? Just shove it in a cupboard, it’ll be fine. What’s this set of deodorants you’ve been given? Bah, just throw it in the bin.
Better get some sleep, you’ve got work tomorrow and you’ve got a whole year of survival to endure in a world filled with terrors.
Does that sound familiar? Trust me, this is the source of many people’s depression at this time of year, mine included. You’ve been living in a fantasy where excitement matters more than money, where jobs don’t matter, the only thing you needed to worry about is what to buy people. What you’re feeling is a sense of loss; when someone close to you dies you get that pit in your stomach as you know you’ll never see them again, this to some extent is the same effect. You can’t stand the thought that you’re going to have to lift your head off that pillow on January the 2nd and go back to normality.
January the 2nd and you’ve got New Years resolutions that you’ll only keep until around January the 15th until you’ve given up. You’re worried about your weight because you’ve eaten so much, you’re worried about bills and finances and everything else.
But don’t worry, you will get through it. The feeling will pass, eventually going back to normality will feel normal. You WILL be okay. Don’t believe me? Then look in the mirror, you’ve come this far. You’ve had this feeling your entire life and you’ve gotten through it every year previous.
This is the definition of the holiday blues but you’ll overcome it. Give it a couple of months, your money troubles will level off, you’ll be back to booking holidays and weekends away before you know it.
And besides, should you manage to survive yet another year… Christmas is only 52 weeks away.