Editorial: Holidays are not always happy

  • A wintry scene in Franklin County.  FILE PHOTO

Published: 12/6/2019 9:04:21 AM
Modified: 12/6/2019 9:04:08 AM

From Whately’s snow-covered fields to Northfield’s magical woodlands, winter has settled on Franklin County. After Thanksgiving, December brings with it a cheerful line-up of festivities: Winter Solstice; Hanukkah; Christmas; Kwanzaa; New Year’s Eve. There are carol sings, Christmas concerts, Welcome Yule at the Shea, radio play-style productions of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Living Nativity scenes, Northfield’s “Special Day” on Dec. 14, and church holiday bazaars and Christmas pageants to help get us in the spirit.

In recognition of this merry season, decorations twinkle from light posts; Hallmark movies crowd streaming networks; Christmas tree farmers shift into high gear; holiday cheer brightens many homes throughout the region.

Other houses, however, aren’t so bright — a reminder that, for many among us, the holiday season isn’t always a happy time of the year.

For some, the magic of New England’s holiday season brings with it seasonal depression due to the shorter days, shopping stress of what to buy, household budgets stretched to the breaking point and painful reminders of lost loved ones. For all of these reasons, stress levels spike during the holiday season. Emotions run high — both positive and negative.

Notably, while holiday blues are real, suicide rates are seasonally low in the winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In that vein, the CDC offers a few tips for managing the holiday blues:

Dress appropriately. Bundle up to stay dry and warm.

Manage stress. Be realistic about what you can do; create a budget; give yourself a break if you feel overwhelmed or out of control.

Find support — professional help if needed. Connect socially and get plenty of sleep.

Eat healthily. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar.

Be active for at least 2½ hours a week — take advantage of the many wintertime activities available in our region. Downhill ski at Berkshire East in Charlemont; cross-country ski at Stump Sprouts Ski Touring Center in Hawley; snowshoe at Northfield Mountain; go ice skating at the Collins-Moylan Skating Arena in Greenfield.

Additionally, the Second Congregational Church at 16 Court Square, on the Common, in Greenfield will host a Blue Christmas service Tuesday at 7 p.m. for those seeking wholeness and peace during the Advent season.

This month, we wish all of our readers a merry and festive holiday season — one that’s grounded in peace and hope for a bright tomorrow.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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