Wagner College News Service
Some folks seem to come alive during the holiday season.
Others … don’t.
For advice on how to avoid the Christmas blues, we turned to an expert: Miles Groth, a psychology professor at Wagner College. A trained psychoanalyst, Groth has been in private practice since 1977.
Dr. Groth had five simple suggestions for short-circuiting the holiday blues.
First: Do something you haven’t done before.
“Spend Christmas at a friend’s home,” he suggested. “Take a trip somewhere they don’t celebrate the holidays like we do. Change things up.”
Second: “Discover the roots of the holidays, both pagan and Christian,” said Dr. Groth. “Sacred traditions have deep meanings that you may have missed.”
Third: “Look at how your grandparents celebrated Christmas,” the professor suggested. “One year, I found the cookbook my grandmother had brought over from Sweden. I remembered the Christmas sausages she made, and that triggered a flood of memories. I reconnected with a level of meaning I had not experienced for many years.”
Fourth: If you’re on your own for the holidays, join with others in similar situations.
“If you don’t have a family, or you can’t connect with your family, for whatever reason, create a ‘family of choice’ for yourself,” Groth said. “Or if you and your spouse can’t decide whose family to spend Christmas with, you might consider the option of not spending it with either one! It’s very empowering to be able to say, I’ll choose where I spend my holidays.”
Fifth: “Just ignore the holidays!” Groth suggested. “Instead, create a counter-tradition of your own … or co-opt someone else’s.”
One could do worse than to emulate newly minted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. When asked during her Senate confirmation hearing where she was on Christmas, Her Honor said, “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”
Wagner College is a U.S. News & World Report Top 25 regional university on Staten Island in New York City.
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