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Forums / Long term support over the journey / FESTIVE SEASON STRUGGLES

Topic: FESTIVE SEASON STRUGGLES

  1. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    15 November 2016

    Season's Greetings everyone.

    We have a lovely cheery Christmas and New Years thread started up in the Social Zone. Hope you can drop by there and share some joy and happiness.

    This is the alternate thread, where you can share the not so pleasant memories of Christmas or the concerns you may have for Christmas 2016.

    For me, my depressive brain decides to hassle me about Christmas in November! That is so unnecessary! I need to break this habit!

    So on this thread you can share the negative and hopefully find a positive at the end.

    You might like to share what the worst present was that you ever received, or how sad and miserable you are at Christmas.

    By sharing, we may well be able to help and support each other through a time that can be very tough for some.

    This is the place to vent, the thread on the Social Zone is also waiting for you to add your happy thoughts and memories of Christmas and New Years.

    Thinking of you all, hugs from Mrs. Dools

    christmas-candles


    4 people found this helpful
  2. MarkJT
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    15 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    An amazingly tough, resilient and strong woman you are Mrs Dools.

    Fantastic idea for a thread.

    Much respect.

    Mark.

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  3. Doolhof
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    15 November 2016 in reply to MarkJT

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks. I really do struggle big time this time of year. I'm experiencing many deep and horrible lows right now so am trying my hardest to claw my way back up to the light and to try and think positive thoughts around Christmas.

    This is a time when I really feel the loss of our babies. They didn't even get to live. To me they are so real and my heart grieves so deeply this time of year. I have so longed for decades to see my own children rip open their gifts at Christmas and to share that time with them.

    In the spirit of what I wrote above, I have shared one of my negative thoughts about the festive season, now I will share a positive: my younger sister has always ensured I see her children at Christmas and all through the year. For that I am ever so thankful.

    In the pain I can still find many blessings.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
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    15 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Mrs Dools

    Great thread - I think Christmas season can be such a tough time for people because we've got to "put on a happy face" which is often easier said than done!

    I had a think and there's probably two big reasons that I'm struggling this year. First one is money - definately harder at Christmas time with gift giving and what not, and also health issues - one of those things that doesn't seem to go away.

    As for the worst present - surely any present is a good one? Although I did get a giant piece of exercise equipment which was accompanied by "because you're fat and need to lose weight". That was a bit of a downer.

    Oh, and as for the 'silver lining' I think it would be that it helps show the year is ending. It's been a hard year for me so saying farewell and bringing on hopefully a better new year will be the blessing in disguise :)

  5. Sandy centre
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    37 posts
    15 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof
    Infertility really affects me because Christmas is all about kids and when you can't or don't have them it's very stressful around family and friends who do x
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  6. geoff
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    16 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof
    dear Mrs. Dools,I can well and truly feel the pain that you must be going through, my heart breaks for you and the sorrow which you are feeling, I am just so sorry for you, because every year the same thoughts and tears come to you to only torment you with all those lovely thoughts which you had so wished for.
    One year to ten years doesn't mean anything because each year the same memories and grief are still the same, and unfortunately this doesn't seem to be any better.
    I have hated Xmas time once my Mum was put into a nursing home and that was well over twenty five years ago, but I had two sons who always loved this time, so I had to pretend to them that I was also excited, but being depressed, boy, that was so hard.
    Now I have two little granddaughters so now I once again have to pretend that Father Christmas is coming down the chimney and joy them in their excitement, but I haven't been to any Xmas parties for such a long time so I have been aloof, now I'm not asked.
    I hope Mrs. Dools you know that we are all holding you up over this period, and this applies to you Sandy centre as well. Love Geoff. xx
  7. Doolhof
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    16 November 2016 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi Romantic_thi3f,

    Illness and lack of finances can be a burden anytime, at Christmas and Birthdays it can feel like more of a hindrance and burden.

    My older sister lived on a farm for many years. They struggled financially. She would bake biscuits as Christmas gifts or try to make something out of what ever she could find. I treasured her gifts.

    I have scoured Op Shops for potential gifts as well. Or tried to make something myself.

    The exercise equipment was lovely, but the note was not really needed! Ha. Ha.

    My dear husband gave me a frying pan on our first Christmas. I didn't think it was all that romantic! Ha. Ha.

    It can be positive to say goodbye to one year and look forward to the next. I also hope you can remember some happier moments and events of this year.

    Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools

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  8. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    16 November 2016 in reply to Sandy centre

    Hi Sandy centre,

    I totally understand how you feel about not having children at Christmas time especially. For me, I was able to embrace other people's children.

    My heart was both breaking and being filled with love at the same time.

    I used to enjoy sewing and would make gifts for the children I had in life. One little girl at Church liked hand bags, so I made her some.

    Christmas is a tough time. I wish I had the words to write to help you through this season!

    Cyber hugs to you from Mrs. Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Doolhof
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    16 November 2016 in reply to geoff

    Dear Geoff,

    Thanks for your lovely words. Some years I a sail through the festive season and really enjoy myself. For some reason I become quite sad and down in November!

    I would benefit from more counselling so I will try and organise that through my Dr.

    In actual fact though, sharing my thoughts and feelings with people on this forum has been so much more help for for me than counselling as I don't do too well with the face to face bit of counselling.

    Another thing regarding Christmas is that I don't always have the opportunity to do what I desire to do at Christmas. Maybe it is the feeling of a lack of control that gets to me as well. Other people dictate what will be happening to a large degree.

    Ah! I have just learnt something else about myself!

    Will chat again soon, Mum is staying with us and I am taking her to the city for appointments.

    Cheerio for now from Mrs. Dools

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  10. Doolhof
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    17 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    HI Everyone,

    Yesterday I drove my Mum to the city for an appointment. She was going to be at least an hour so I decided to go for a walk and headed for Rundle Mall in Adelaide.

    I went into a department store and headed for their Christmas section. Their display caused me to have tears in my eyes and I wanted to turn around and leave.

    Instead I stayed and admired the ways the Christmas trees were decorated. I went around all the racks and displays of decorations and admired many of them. Some were so gorgeous, and like decorations I have seen in Europe but never here in Australia.

    I could have spent hundreds of dollars on decorations! They looked so beautiful. For a moment I had a sense of Christmas joy within my heart!

    Cheers all from Dools

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  11. white knight
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    17 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Mrs Dolls

    Sending my live and care to you at this difficult time.

    Lift your chin, see the light, breathe deep feel the air and think good things you can share...

    Tony WK

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  12. Dreamwish
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    17 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    hello everyone

    that was a nice thing to see in the department stores Mrs Dools, bittersweet happiness perhaps but still a bit of happiness nonetheless. I've always loved christmas, I love the decorations and buying presents and seeing them under the tree and I like that its a different time of the year. It was always an exciting time when I was a child, all my relatives got together and I'd see my cousins and we'd have a big party.

    Since my grandparents died none of my relatives get together for christmas anymore its now just me, my parents and my brother. I guess they all have their own families now. I'm so envious of people with close families. This year is the first year I won't see my brother as he lives in another state and is not coming home. I haven't seen him since last christmas.

    I'm still looking forward to decorating my house and buying presents but on the day I will have to spend it with my parents as is tradition, but I only have a surface level relationship with them. I will put on a smile and pretend happy happy joy joy but inside I will miss my brother dearly. He has escaped them (and me) and I don't blame him for not coming home for xmas. I'd do the same if I could. I hope for strength that day, it will be hard.

    For a positive, I look forward to my pets "opening" their presents, my cats are usually not terribly interested unless its a food treat but my dog tries ripping into his with his little paws and he loves all his gifts, especially the squeaky duck I always get him which lasts about 2 minutes before he rips the squeaker part out, haha!

    Hope to hear more stories of everyone's christmases and we can support each other through what is a tough time for a lot of people. It can be beautiful as well.

    I hope to help out feeding the homeless on boxing day as well this year.

    regards

    dreamwish

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  13. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    18 November 2016 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    Mrs. Dolls, I like that!

    Last night I had a look on the internet for European Christmas decorations and so many beautiful sites came up.

    A few years ago we were lucky enough to be in Europe at Christmas time. Their Christmas markets and decorations are incredible.

    I spent quite some time looking at the glorious decorations and displays, so very different from those we see here usually in Australia.

    Some of the vintage Christmas sites gave me ideas for things I may be able to make myself.

    Yes, Christmas can be a struggle, it can be so beautiful and precious as well.

    Cheers to you from Mrs. Dolls

  14. Doolhof
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    18 November 2016 in reply to Dreamwish

    Hi Dreamwish,

    Thanks for sharing your Christmas story with us all. Will you telephone your brother for Christmas? I try to call my family at Christmas if I am not going to be seeing them.

    That will be a little difficult this year as we will be in Bali for Christmas. I will call them before we leave. I might even try to get to where my parents live before Christmas or early in the New Year. It would be easier if I could just drive there for the day and return, but it involves a 4 hour drive one way and a boat trip.

    I love the story about the presents for your pets. How gorgeous. Reminds me of my sister's dog! We always went to Church for Christmas. We were allowed to open one present before going to Church. One year when we returned home, the remainder of the gifts had been ripped open and partly shredded.

    The dog had decided she wanted them all for herself. Problem was she found some chocolates and managed to eat most of them. Mum had a sick dog to look after and we tried to work out which present belonged to whom.

    Hopefully you will have a lovely day for Christmas and will enjoy Boxing Day.

    In the past we have invited friends to our place to join us for Christmas. That has always been lovely.

    Yes, Christmas can be beautiful.

    Since sharing messages here, I am feeling so much more positive about Christmas. Thanks everyone for your much appreciate support and good wishes!

    Cheers all from Mrs. Dools

  15. Dreamwish
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    18 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Hey Mrs Dools

    That is so funny about your sisters dog, helping herself to the presents while you were all out! Silly thing eating the chocolates they don't know whats good for them haha. Glad she was ok though. What lovely traditions you have with your family. Yes I will call my brother on christmas day for sure, I actually hope to myself he will surprise visit us but I think thats out of the question.

    I hope you manage to have a truly wonderful christmas too Mrs Dools, over in Bali this year!! Gosh how exciting, hope you get to relax over there and enjoy yourself. So pleased you are feeling more positive, xmas is probably always going to be an emotional or stressful time. I agree with the epiphany you had, I too feel that way about always having to spend xmas day with my parents or my partners parents (none of those people I have a good relationship with) I feel like thats out of my control but I try have the next day, Boxing Day where I do what I want to do, to make my own christmas traditions.

    I'd love to experience a European christmas one day, that must have been a cool trip!

    Thanks for sharing too :)

    dreamwish

  16. Guest_184
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    19 November 2016

    I'm struggling at this time of the year too. I usually absolutely love Christmas and enjoy decorating my tree and putting fairy lights everywhere, going to parties, being with family, baking gorgeous biscuits. Last year was very special as I met my ex partner in December and we had a very beautiful Christmas and New Years together. So this year I am dreading it because I worry that I will be dwelling on that. I am considering just going away somewhere and escaping Christmas this year. I am looking for cheap holiday deals. I'm not sure how else to cope through this time and stop thinking about the beautiful memories from last year. I haven't contacted him for a couple of months, but the last he said was that he is seeing someone knew since 3 months after our breakup, and to never contact him again and find a new best friend. That really hurt and was like he was rubbing salt in. I can see him doing all the same things we used to do, but with someone else, and it hurts so much.

  17. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    19 November 2016 in reply to Dreamwish

    Hi Dreamwish,

    I have no idea at all what we will get up to on Christmas Day in Bali.

    Today my husband told his parents we would not be with them for Christmas. We had expected them to be annoyed, angry and upset. They both took it very well! Maybe they are mellowing in their older age!

    I told them if we don't see them before Christmas, we will catch up with them in the New Year. They were fine with that.

    Christmas celebrations do not all have to be jammed into one day do they? Sounds like a great idea to spread things out a little.

    Cheers for now Mrs. D

  18. Doolhof
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    19 November 2016 in reply to Guest_184

    Hi Gabriella,

    I'm so very sorry to read your story! Looks like this is your first post here on this forum. So firstly I would like to welcome you. This is a place where you will not be judged, but will be accepted, acknowledged and appreciated for the person you are.

    It must be very hard to think of your ex partner now being with someone else. Times like Christmas and New Years can be difficult.

    You mentioned family and going out with friends. Could you try to become involved in family plans for Christmas this year? Do you have family members or friends who might like to bake with you? You could make it a real fun thing to do with a small group of people.

    Is it possible to come up with something totally different to do for Christmas? One year we decided to have a picnic lunch in a park with my husband's family. Once there we had to fight for space! So many other people were doing the same thing!

    Maybe this year it might be beneficial to get away and go somewhere else. The thing is though, your thoughts and emotions will go with you!

    I realise that myself. We are going to Bali for Christmas. It will still be my same brain with the same memories and emotions tagging along with me. I need to find ways to deal with those thoughts and emotions.

    I'm seeing my Dr next week to have a chat with him about it all. I have also expressed my negative thoughts and emotions regarding Christmas here, and it has helped.

    If you do go away, make sure you can still contact family and friends. Going away is good, but isolating yourself might not be so healthy.

    Cheers for now from Mrs. D

  19. Guest_184
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    19 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Doolhof,

    Thanks for your response. I think my idea of going away is probably a deliberate attempt to isolate myself and I'm not sure why. I feel as though nobody likes me and I don't want to spread my misery.

    I've been depressed since the breakup 6 months ago and have been on medication for 2 months which has helped. I started to feel as though it was not having any effect because I still felt depressed, but after I ran out of tablets and missed 2 days, I remembered just how badly I had been feeling before I started taking it. I then lost all motivation to go and spend time with people or to do anything and all I could do was cry. I am back on the medication since today and feel a bit better already.

    My family usually do the same thing every year so I don't think I can change things up, but I am responsible for bringing a couple of salads. Since being depressed, I've had trouble planning ahead with things too. I don't want to think far ahead or plan anything. I used to be a keen planner! It just feels like pressure now.

    My ex partner, I fell in love with him and thought I would spend my life with him. It didn't work out and he hurt me badly. Now I am a complete mess. I thought there would be many more Merry Christmases, Happy New Years and sweet Valentine's Days to come. It's hard letting go of that.

  20. Elizabeth CP
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    19 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    I have very mixed feelings about Christmas. When very young I enjoyed it but after moving to Australia missed the extended family gatherings. It also felt strange being summer. When I married and had children it was fun again as we we visited my family & then my husband's family & the children enjoyed spending time with their grandparents, cousins & uncles & aunts. We tried instituting traditions for our family to make the day meaningful for our kids. This worked until my dad died a week before Christmas & even when I'm not consciously thinking about him there has been a depressed feeling around the anniversary of his death. Years later my mum dies less than a month before Christmas and we have had several other disastrous Christmases. One year my husband was very unwell another year my son was in a psych hospital. His visit home was cut short when he became suicidal (The meal seemed to trigger bad feelings) I find it stressful trying to get everything done for Christmas & my feelings of inferiority are triggered as I find it hard to buy presents ( I worry I will get it wrong) I worry that my cooking isn't good enough & the end of the year reminds me of all I haven't achieved or completed that year. I am trying to do as much as possible ahead of time to decrease the stress.

    I do like spending time with my children & grandchildren.

  21. Destiny Driver
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    The "silly" season is the worst time of the year for me, has been for as long as I can remember.

    I remember as a 11 year old being left at home to mind the dog while the rest of my family went on holidays. I didn't mind being left behind - I hated the caravan they owned. What "got" me was the fact they forgot my birthday just after Christmas!

    The requirement that everyone be nice to each other - even though you don't particularly like these people for the rest of the year - doesn't sit well with me. Just because "it's Christmas" doesn't change my opinion of anybody. But I used to conform, just to keep the peace. Not any more.

    Elizabeth CP - it's good you enjoy spending time with family! Maybe focus more on seeing the people you love than what you're going to feed them?

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  22. james1
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Destiny Driver

    Ah this Christimas will not be a fun one for me either. It's usually a reminder of the broken family I've lived with up until about 4 years ago when I started spending Christmas with my ex's family.. So the past 4 have been very good but this Christmas will probably serve as a reminder of both the broken family and the break-up. Ditto for my birthday next week actually.

    I've been considering just getting away for Christmas which is what I usually do for my birthday.

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  23. Doolhof
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Guest_184

    Hi Gabriella,

    Hopefully you will start feeling a bit better each day while staying on the medication.

    Okay, so it sounds like family tradition/habits might not be too changeable.

    If you do not go away, can you plan something different to do on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day?

    Before Christmas, try reaching out to family and friends and organise an outing with someone now and then. It will help to build up your self esteem and sense of self.

    Regarding the salads, there are plenty of salads already made up in the supermarket. You can add to them and place them in a nice bowl or container.

    Are you a list maker? If so then make a list now of things you would like to achieve before Christmas.

    Going away might be a form of escapism, that sounds okay to me, as long as you are prepared to try to work on how you are feeling either before you go away or when you return.

    Do you have any ideas as to where you might like to go?

    If yo do, then try and find out what is available in that area on Christmas Day so you can make plans.

    1 person found this helpful
  24. Doolhof
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Have you as a family thought about celebrating a "Christmas in July"? I know it is not the same thing. I have been to some of these gatherings in July and rather like it.

    There is a lot less stress, it all seems to be more fun, it is certainly colder so you can enjoy eating all of that hot food and stuff yourself with Christmas Pudding.

    It can be very tough when you feel like you have to get everything perfect. That can put a real strain on yourself.

    Hopefully by making lists now and thinking about what you would like to organise, you will be better prepared.

    Would it be possible for you to organise a special family gathering to remember your parents and celebrate their lives? I have friends who do this. They eat food that was liked by those who have died and try and think up funny stories and memories.

    An occasion like that may help to take away some of the sadness and hurt of Christmas.

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  25. Doolhof
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Destiny Driver

    Hi Destiny Driver,

    That was a huge responsibility to be left behind to look after the dog! How many days were you home alone and was that over Christmas?

    That really sucks, so does having your Birthday not recognised.

    It is tough having to be on your best behaviour and to play happy families when like you mentioned, it is not like that for the rest of the year.

    Hopefully you will enjoy December the 25th, if you celebrate Christmas or not.

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  26. Doolhof
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    21 November 2016 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    "Happy Birthday" for next week. I hope you have a special kind of day no matter what you plan on doing or not doing!

    We are going away for Christmas as are a few other people we know.

    Do you have any ideas where you might like to go for Christmas?

    Where ever it is, you might find a community event to join in with if you are so inclined, or just have a quiet time by yourself.

    Last year I attended Christmas Day service at Church and then the hall was set up for Christmas lunch for anyone who didn't have any where to go and wanted to be with people.

    Each person attending received a gift. There were a couple of guys who still looked rather hungry, so I kept returning to them asking if they would like more to eat once everyone had been fed.

    There was a lot of chatter and laughter. People walked out with smiles on their faces. It was lovely.

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  27. Shred1106
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Mrs Dools

    Christmas - or just before it is not pleasant for me.An anniversary unfortunately, the second one in as many months. Even more difficult was that both people had been prepared and had already bought gifts for me.

    On the up side...well it's almost the end of a bugga of a year for me...may 2017 bring happiness to all because we all deserve it!

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  28. Doolhof
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    21 November 2016 in reply to Shred1106

    Hi Shred,

    I'm assuming from your thread that a couple of people whom you loved and cared for died just before Christmas, maybe last year or some other year.

    It must have been really tough knowing they had bought gifts for you already.

    Is there some way you can celebrate the lives of these people before Christmas?

    At Christmas I like to light candles for loved ones who can not be with us for one reason or another. I don't always tell people what the candles are for. I place them on the table and light them.

    I've also bought special decorations for the tree in memory of loved ones.

    Thanks for your upside thoughts! Yes, it is nearly the end of the year.

    We all have an opportunity to make 2017 the best we can possibly make it with all we have available to us.

    Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  29. Destiny Driver
    Destiny Driver avatar
    29 posts
    21 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Doolhof,

    My parents left on Boxing day every year and came home early January, so I was alone for a couple of weeks. Being alone didn't bother me, it still doesn't. I adored the dog and she was my "best friend" so staying home to care for her wasn't a hardship. I'd much rather be at home with the dog, rather than being on holidays with my family.

    I find it easier to consider Christmas Day as just another day not any sort of special day. It works for me.

    I'm not a Grinch and hope that those who celebrate the day have a great time!

  30. Shred1106
    Shred1106 avatar
    245 posts
    21 November 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Thanks for that Mrs Dools - I think that is something I might discuss with my psychologist and formulate a plan from there. Every even year several of us go away together over Christmas and New Year so I don't even put up a tree, and those I travel with, although family, don't really get me at all.

    In fact the first anniversary a few weeks ago was from a long time back when my long standing boyfriend was killed in a car accident, and the latter anniversary close to Christmas was Mum.

    The years going by don't seem to make it any easier and I try very hard for the kids in the extended family not to make a deal of it. However, you've given me food for thought so thanks for that.

    Your wisdom is inspiring!

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