Are your holidays filled with loneliness? Do the days just feel like a lot of work? Is the meaning of the holidays lost? Has this just happened now that your children are out of the house and maybe you have been on your own for awhile? Holidays are definitely one of the most difficult times of the year, especially as we live out the last quarter of our lives.

It gets harder and harder to put up the Christmas tree. You just don’t want to take the time, make the effort to cook a big meal. Many of your friends have plans with their own families. Holidays can be traditionally very depressing, stressful and exhausting.

I overheard a man in the Post Office the other day “Oh, you know. I hate the holidays. My wife died last year. I’m just not interested in Christmas.”

I was shopping, a lady checking out said: “I’m sick of all the shopping and cooking. No one appreciates the work I do for everyone to have presents under the tree.” As the mother of five sons and the one that all 18 members of my family looked to for the annual Christmas Eve seated dinner, I can sometimes relate.

What is getting lost in the craziness of the holidaze? What is the reason and meaning for this holiday? What are we supposed to celebrate, remember?

Christmas is a time of year to think of giving to others – the people you love, those who have cared about you, who have helped you, who are less fortunate? Are you feeling lonely, left out, sad from memories of Christmas in the past?

Newsflash! Christmas, as with every other holiday, except maybe your birthday, isn’t just about You. What can you do to make this year different? What can you do to wake up on December 26th and think “this has been a great holiday”?
 Treasure those memories of past loved ones, family Christmases you shared. Unpack special decorations, ornaments your children made in elementary school, frame photos of family and friends together.
 How can you approach giving gifts differently? One of the best presents I ever got was from one of my sons – a picture of him doing something he liked, with a letter telling me his memories of the Christmases he shared with his brothers. Could you do the same thing? Write a story about you as a child, then share this with your children or siblings?
 Who else is in a similar situation as you? Who is alone this year or not able to be with their family? Is there a friend who is overwhelmed by their big family that you could help? Do you know someone who isn’t able to drive, who doesn’t get out much? Do you know someone who is in assisted living, who doesn’t have many visitors? What can you do for these other people? Won’t you be doing something for yourself also?
 Could you share some food in your home? It doesn’t have to be a huge turkey dinner. What about vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, cherries, whipped cream – let everyone make an ice cream mountain? How about just going on a drive in the country? Could you take a walk through the neighborhood or park lights one evening?
 Look in the newspaper or go online to find all of the holiday concerts, programs, fireworks displays in your area. How about the community theatre production of “Dear Santa”? If nothing else, get some friends over to watch a funny movie – “Elf”, “Christmas with the Cranks” or “Home Alone” – drink some hot chocolate with marshmallows. One string of Christmas lights can add so much joy. How about decorating some cookies; this is actually fun for adults too. Think outside of what you always have done. There is a Life outside of your comfortable box.
 How can you contribute to those who are having a particularly hard time? Find agencies who work with homeless or orphaned children, people living in shelters, those who are hungry. Haven’t you heard that your reward is doubled when you give to others less fortunate? Writing a check is great, but you’ll feel the best when you give your time, talents, volunteer. Call any local church, social service organization, hospital or senior center to find an endless list of opportunities. A few phone calls could change your life forever, to say nothing of adding to your holiday memories.

Have you heard all of this before? Are you going to DO anything differently this year? You have to connect with your own spirituality, your own relationship to those around you. One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your own circumstances is to get out of yourself, get out of your own mind and return to your heart.

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn Bates is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Certified Personal Life Coach, expert/contributing author for Self Help magazine and Boomer Living and Top 50 expert with Self Growth. Coach Carolyn is also a member of Coach U, Coachville and The Highland Lakes Health Partnership.

Coaching Life Design specializing in successful life transitions and retirement for Baby Boomers and those 50+. Our focus includes the challenges of parenting your parents, being a caregiver, dealing with adult children, divorce after 50, supporting a serious diagnosis, career changes, retirement decisions and death & dying.

Coaching with Carolyn works with clients who are ready to create and take the steps forward to maintain sustainability for the life and relationships they want.