By Beth Anne Langrell, For All Seasons, Inc.

Holiday lights shine bright on the house, wreaths are perched on street lamps, and the time has come for families to light the menorah and children to begin to anticipate Santa’s visit down the chimney. The Eastern Shore creates a holiday scene like those in a Hallmark movie, but not everyone’s script has a happy ending.

If you’re in that group where this truly is the “most wonderful time of the year” – that’s great! But for some, this year may be a year where you simply can’t find the holiday spirit. Maybe your family has lost a loved one this year. Maybe you’re feeling the extra stress the holidays can put on the pocketbook. Maybe you just want to celebrate the way you always have, but dynamics are not making that possible this year.

Hopefully some of the strategies below will help you think through the season a little differently this year. After all, even the jolliest of people can feel the stress of the season.

  • Think about your expectations and decide if they are realistic.

Remember, you can’t change the family member that wreaks havoc on the holiday dinner, but you can control how you respond to them. Don’t go for perfect, because Hallmark is only on the TV. Don’t let someone else ruin your holiday.

  • Set a budget.

Don’t make the holiday season last until June by having bills to pay off. Decide what you can afford and stick to your budget, remembering that things are just things, but memories last forever. And don’t forget to budget your time. The holidays can be overwhelming with events and other commitments.

  • Be selective in your activities.

Don’t feel like you have to do everything just because other people ask. Hold on to the memories you want to keep close and choose the activities that fill you, not the activities that others expect you to participate in.

  • Be the light for someone.

When you feel your light burning out and you want to bury yourself, switch gears and take time to make someone else’s day a little brighter. There are many places to volunteer and there are many people in need, if you don’t have time for that — do something simple, like hold a door and wish someone a happy holiday.

We hope that this will be helpful to you as you figure out what really matters to you this holiday season. Each one of you holds a special place in the hearts of our team at For All Seasons. As you begin the countdown to the holidays, remember that No Matter What, You Matter.

If you are struggling this holiday season, seek help. For All Seasons maintains a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: Text: 410-829-6143 Toll-Free: 800-310-7273