Positive Ideas Flip Holiday Negatives

by Maureen McKane, LCSW

Many of us experience less than Hallmark holidays. Find the positive ideas to turn negatives around.

Kate is 40 Something, her Grandma, 90. Kate is out of work, broke and way too idle. Grandma is out of luck all the way around. Home now is Assisted Living, thanks to broken bones and a wheelchair. About 90% of her worldly goods went away with her house and she doesn’t want presents that are just more stuff. Two holiday negatives crying, ‘Bah, Humbug!’?

To Kate, Christmas is all but canceled because she can’t afford gifts. All Grandma wishes for is her relatives, who have moved to the four winds. Today Kate decided she can afford stamps, so she composed a set of Christmas cards to send to Grandma. One will go out now, one next week and one the week after Christmas. In each she wrote a different personal story. I heard a certain note in Kate’s voice when she told me about the cards. It was the whoosh of bellows bursting a yule log into flame. I expect that will also be Grandma’s tone when she opens the cards.

Every day now I hear at least one sorrowful Christmas story. I am sometimes asked, “How can you bear to listen to all the troubles?” Easy. It’s like finding each chocolate chip in the cookie. Inside sad holiday moments live the positive ideas like Kate’s. By now we all know that the road out of depression means turning negative thinking into positive. You can’t force that, but you can always look for the chocolate chips.