Tis the Season

Tis the season to be jolly…

Or so the popular holiday song goes. What exactly is “jolly” anyway?

I took a moment to look up the meaning of “jolly” in the dictionary and read,(1) “in good spirits, lively, merry; (2) cheerfully festive or convivial; (3) joyous; happy.” Yes, this holiday song reminds us we are now in that time of year where we are to make merry and be lively, happy, joyous to make the festive season — well, festive, of course.

As such, many of us have this expectation well and truly ingrained in our minds and bodies for as long as we can remember. Yet, the pressure and stress to be jolly can lead us to being anything but merry and bright. This season arrives during the darkest days in the northern hemisphere as well as when natural light is seriously lacking in our days.

When I lived in Oz for a year, I will never forget the unusual holiday season I experienced where it was hot – about 100 degrees on the Gold Coast – and the days were at their longest. Well, it was all upside down – the light was with me, but the heat made me feel like Santa was definitely going to melt on his sleigh. Still, the natural light added a joy to the season that seems to lack in the north.

How are you feeling today as the jolliest time of the year kicks off?

Perhaps you are festive and merry – ready to make it the happiest season of them all!

Perhaps you are anything but and are looking for places to honor the dark spaces and feelings within you this season.

I am curious if you aren’t a mix of both — a little happy and a little sad? Holidays can often lead to many special events and traditions that we look forward to all year round and, simultaneously, evoke in each of us a poignancy of what has been lost over the past year or anxiousness over a season that often feels overwhelming and stressful.

It’s a mixed bag to be sure. Honoring where you are as the season kicks off and staying true to however you are feeling allows you to lean into the holiday season with a connection to your authentic self. Probably one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself this season and throughout the year.

Check out this article from the NY Times for an interesting article on being sad over the holidays.