Experiencing Holiday Blues

Dec 16, 2020 by Outward Biblical Counseling

Experiencing Holiday Blues

Brandon and Heather Haverland discuss the "holiday blues" and how we can submit those to the Lord.

Audio Transcript:

Brandon: Welcome, I'd like to talk to you about something that is commonly referred to about as holiday blues. The holiday seasons are a lot of fun for a lot of people. That's something that people look forward to certainly kids and family. In fact, I think most of us really tried to enjoy the season. My name is Brandon, this is my wife. 

Heather: I'm Heather.

Brandon: And we have been married now for four and a half years, I think it was. And just to make it personal, for us here in this video, you noticed in me kind of a pattern. After a couple of Christmas holiday seasons with me. You noticed that something happened each year. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that? 

Heather: Christmas season rolls around. So it's somewhere after Thanksgiving, Brandon would just he'd be gone like emotionally, physically, mentally, he was gone. And that was really hard for me in a season where I want my husband to be around and present and have fun and make new memories for our family. He was gone. And it was a depression.

Brandon: Yeah. And that's that's what I think you helped me to see is that each year around this time, I was experiencing a type of depression. And I just even didn't have an awareness, I was just kind of powering through an emotionally complex season without giving it a whole lot of thought. 

You and I are both a part of the biblical counseling team. We've received some training and have come to understand these things a little bit more and are wanting to provide some help. For people who experience holiday blues, whether you realize you do or not. And whether it happens some years, or some years, it doesn't. Or even if you don't, I think these are some good practices. So the counseling team has put together kind of seven guidelines for what to do and how to approach the holiday season with wisdom. So the first one, and I'm hoping you can just make some comments about these. The first one is evaluate your thoughts about the holidays based on truth, not memories, or wishful thinking.

Heather: So, looking at past experiences or memories, as like I wish this year would be like that is not what we receive as wise counsel from the word. 

Brandon: Yeah, Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, "Do not say why were the old days better than these. For it is not wise to ask such questions."

And we do that we think about these past Christmases, and we're chasing it like a like a high like, we've got to achieve this level of happiness and satisfaction, and it's elusive. We can never get there. But we still try to chase it every every year. So don't think back about Christmas memories. Think forward to what new memories you can make. That's just good practical wisdom.

Give all your holiday expectations to God. Celebrate the holiday on the Lord, not on people or circumstances.

Heather: So one way to practices is to focus on God and who He is. And this Advent season, we've put together a calendar that we can focus on God's word every day. Click here for our Advent materials!

Brandon: Yeah, just kind of a daily devotional something we're doing at Outward Church. So, a great way to have your focus be on God and not on all of the other hopes and expectations that the world places.

Be aware of false images that come from media.

This is like, you're watching movies, these hallmark movies, about Christmas and all of the expectations that that place is on us, right? Just the notes that we have here: our enemy uses the world system to take our focus off of God and His kingdom. So we try to make Christmas about something else.

The next one: protect your priorities during the holiday season. Turn down invitations if they interfere with your daily pattern, and spiritual disciplines.

Heather: It's easy to get too busy in the season and the stress of that, coupled with depression, loneliness, loss, can really wear you down and wear you out?

Brandon: Yeah, this year is a little bit different because of COVID, but you've got office party and and, you know, community group party and family party and mom side dad side, I mean, it's okay to say no to some of those things. You've got to protect your time.

Face holiday related issues face them. This is this one's kind of hitting home for me.

Heather: What first comes to mind is that concept of everything is fine is it's called denial. And it's like the beach ball analogy and inflated beach ball, you can keep pushing it down underneath the water. And it's really, it's a lot of work to keep doing that. And at some point, you're not going to have enough energy or strength to keep it down underneath the water, and it's going to pop up in probably an ugly way.

Brandon: And that's exactly what I was doing. Like, I'm fine, this is fine. I can get through this. I'm strong. I wouldn't even acknowledge that it was hard. But every year I was clenched for some pain, and grief just because of some challenges that I've faced in the past around the holiday season. And and people are facing loneliness because they've lost somebody that they love. Or, loneliness because maybe they aren't in a relationship. And so we have all of these complex emotions, and instead of facing them and acknowledging them, we try to press them down. And the advice that we've offered here is seek appropriate help and support. And that doesn't have to be professional help. It's just the help of a friend, community group member, just let them know, "Hey, this is a challenging season for me. Will you check in with me pray for me encouraged me?"

Heather: I also think it's an awesome time to if you know someone that suffering during the season, reach out and tell them how much they mean to you. Give them a coffee or take them out for a coffee or a walk. Just those small moments can be really, really helpful for people in this time.

Brandon: That's right. Keep the celebration within sensible financial limits. Be a good steward.

Heather: That wonderful word budget. Great thing to do.

Brandon: Nobody wants to talk about a budget. It's Christmas!

Heather: Haha! We don't have to pay the bill until January. But that really really is not wise.

Brandon: We aren't supposed to put Christmas on a credit card?

Heather: No...

Brandon: Oh, budget for Christmas? Oh, I'd hate to be in your house.

Heather: Haha.

Brandon: No, it's true. That's part of chasing that high and that memory. We've got to buy enough. Do enough. Spend enough. To experience the joy and it's never enough.

Heather: Never enough.

Brandon: So set a sensible limit ahead of time. Yeah, live within your means.

And finally, make the holiday a time to develop your spiritual disciplines such as memorizing scripture. If this is a difficult time for you be proactive. It's about making new practices, new memories. There's nothing that says you have to do things a certain way because it's always been done that way. This is a great time to start new practices 

Heather: And we are trying that as a family this year. We're gonna make new memories. 

Brandon: Yes, we are. We're gonna travel this year instead of being at my grandma's house this year. So we're putting that into practice.

We're so happy that this Christmas season is here. The focus is on Jesus. We're celebrating his coming we're building looking forward with anticipation to His Second Coming. And we're praying for you. We care about you as a church body and if you experience some holiday blues. consider signing up for the counseling ministry at our church. We have a team of counselors who are here and ready available to to speak with you to talk with you to pray with you and encourage you. We'd love to help and you can click here for more information. Have a Happy Holidays.


Outward Biblical Counseling exists to help real people with real problems discover the life-transforming power of Jesus, using the Bible.

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