Sammy tackles the holiday blues

Monday, November 27, 2006

Written by Samartha Gamble

Dear Sammy,

I don't understand why people can't accept the fact that some people just don't like Christmas. It isn't even the month of December, and my new office has already begun decking the halls and even playing elevator type Christmas music. I love celebrations, I just don't find joy in celebrating Christmas. I find that all this cheer is making me more depressed and affecting my productivity. So I am contemplating telling the office elves to refrain from decorating my desk, as well as voicing my discomfort with this early celebration, but I feel extremely apprehensive about doing so. How should I handle this situation, "Sammy"?


Dear Apprehensive,

If you don't try to adjust your emotions to the Christmas spirit of your new office environment, I predict a backlash that may land you with the label entitled the "Anti Social New Guy". You certainly won't be off to a good start if you choose to show disdain for the traditions of the office that were obviously in place before you arrived. There is nothing wrong with politely telling them that you don't celebrate Christmas - that you are still a celebratory type of guy who loves celebrating as much as you love this job - but Christmas is where you just have to draw the line. Being funny as you express your beliefs will make it more of a positive exchange. You don't want
to alienate yourself from bonding with your new office staff, as this is a wonderful socializing opportunity for you to solidify your position in the company, even though you may want to throw-up at the sight of the decorations and depressive Christmas music! Sometimes, it's perfectly harmless when we go against our values and beliefs, especially if there is no potentiality of harm to ourselves. I think this is an occasion that calls for wisdom; put your beliefs aside for job security. You might just enjoy yourself while getting to keep your job.

Dear Sammy,

My parents got divorced last year and this is our first Christmas not together. I'm having a hard time coming to terms with this. I really enjoy the holidays with my family - it's always a big, fun party - and now I am forced to spend Christmas separately with them. Emotionally, this is very hard for me because Christmas used to be such a happy time for my family and now I feel as if I'm dreading the whole season. The big problem is that both my parents want me home for Christmas, but at their new places. I don't know where to go and I'm feeling very torn. I don't want to spend time with either of them, because I am simply too hurt.

  • Torn

Dear Torn,

As the holidays are approaching, there are many people like you with split families who have the emotional task of planning just where to spend the holidays. It sounds to me like you are still grieving the break-up of your family and this seems to be a bigger issue than where you should go for the holidays. It's absolutely fine not to spend time with family if you are still torn up about the divorce. Do not force yourself to be pulled in feelings to go away, and do not let well-meaning friends or relatives try to talk you into spending time with anyone if you are not emotionally ready to socialize. If you bury grief instead of fully feeling it, it just stays inside you, preventing you from experiencing good feelings. In today's urbanized world, many people are in the same situation.

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