Open letter from a marketer who
has struggled with Christmas
It’s that time of year when I plead with the four out of five who don’t experience holiday depression not to make things worse for the one out of five who does.
As an alleged human being, I have regard for my friends who love Christmastime. As a marketer, I have regard for the fact that, every year, it is the Christmas season that pulls many a retailer into the black.
But today I’m writing from the perspective of one who has struggled through not a few Christmas seasons himself. Other than to say that my holiday angst has nothing to do with religion, worry not, I shall spare you my tale. You’re welcome.
to open up about holiday depression, here are three
ways (plus an optional way) not to make it worse:
2. Don’t try to fix it. There is nothing you can suggest that your friend hasn’t already heard, thought of, or tried.
3. Don’t rhapsodize about all of the happiness and joy that your friend should be feeling. That your friend isn’t feeling happiness and joy is kind of the point.
Optional: Don’t apologize if you happen to say “Merry Christmas.” Unless your friend is a jackass, there’s no need.
There are just two dos (plus an optional do),
and they work wonders:
2. Validate. Validation is the gentle art of showing that you get it. Try saying, and meaning it, “Thanks for sharing that. I understand better now.” If you like, you can even add the likes of, “That must suck for you.” (Remember that any attempt at offering advice would only show that you don’t get it after all.)
Optional: Ask, “Is there anything I can do?” Who knows. Maybe there is. If not, let it go.
The astute reader will have noticed that making things worse requires a good deal more work than not making things worse. By observing the above-listed recommendations, besides helping a friend survive holiday blues, you will lift quite the burden from your own shoulders.
Kindest regards and best holiday wishes.