Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Highs And Lows Of Christmas

Every year we hear that the number of suicides are up during the holiday season.  Even those surrounded by loving, supportive family and friends succumb to the depression that hits many people this time of year.

On the flip side, many others become happy, upbeat, cheerful, or even pleasant this time of year.  Those are the people that surprise you with their behavior.  Wearing severe black and permanently etched in the forehead with a stress line all year long, these people start wearing tacky sweaters with snowmen or ornament earrings and smiling.

"Is (he/she) smiling?!?"

What is it about this holiday that turns people against their usual nature?  Is it a childhood haunt that plagues us?  Or a happy memory of this time of year that turns that frown upside down?

Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincade pictures invoke a feeling of nostalgia and romance which could also be the very same reason for depression.  Such as hopes for an engagement of a long-time partner, a wanted gift not received, or the unfulfilled dream of being your own Hallmark Christmas special.

Either the season brings dreams to reality, or the harsh reality of dreams left empty can affect everyone during this time.

Perhaps there is too much pressure to be your own perfect example of something that doesn't exist outside of Hollywood.

My family is more like the Griswolds (Christmas Vacation movie).  No matter how hard we try to make the perfect memories, everything inevitably goes wrong, but in the end we laugh about it because we realize this is real life, and all we have are each other.  Whether it's to pick up the broken pieces while someone cries, or to laugh hysterically when the cake blows up in the oven (I've actually done that), this is what Christmas is about.

The sugar highs of cakes and cookies, the emotional lows when someone thought rocks would be a funny stocking stuffer, this is real.  Some things are silence inspiring perfect and some things are so frustrating you want to kick the reindeer on the lawn, but you muddle through and photograph everything.  No matter how hard it gets, one day you'll look back and find it funny!

Personally, I get through the season by spiking my eggnog when nobody is looking...

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