Handling Your Emotions During The Holidays

Women friends hugging during the Christmas holidays

As I was decorating my Christmas tree this year, I was reminded that ornaments and emotions have something in common. And that is that each can be fragile and must be handled with care. I’ll get to the handling your emotions during the holidays part a little later on. But first, I want to share how I concluded that ornaments and emotions have something in common.

Ornaments and Emotions — FRAGILE/ Handle With Care!

A couple of years ago, I was looking for new tree ornaments to prepare for the coming Christmas season. I had been to the usual places you would typically go to find them, but nothing had yet caught my eye. Then, of all places, I happened to stop into a furniture store, and lo and behold. There they were. They were hanging on the store’s display tree. I was so excited I had found just what I was looking for.

However, my excitement was somewhat diminished when I found out the only available ones were the five on display. Even the warehouse was out (I had wanted at least fifteen). So, I decided to take the ones they had in the store and call them good. Well, long story short, when the worker helping us went to remove the ornaments from the tree, the first one slipped through their fingers and hurtled to the ground, and broke in half. Now, I was down to a precious four. A couple of days after this little experience, I got to thinking. And this was when I correlated the fragility of ornaments and emotions together.

Five things I learned from a broken ornament

1. Fragile things need to be handled with extra care.

ORNAMENTS:  After the first ornament crashed to the floor, the worker taking the next ones off the tree handled them with extra precaution. 

EMOTIONS: The holidays can stir up diverse memories and feelings, some pleasant and some heartbreaking, leaving us with fragile emotions. Our hearts ache over loved ones who are no longer with us. We find ourselves feeling alone due to splintered relationships, or maybe our children have grown up or moved away, leaving us with only memories of Christmases past. Or maybe living with depression make the holidays especially hard for you. Whatever the case, sometimes we need to give ourselves or others some extra love at this time of year.

2. Things can still be beautiful even when they are broken. 

ORNAMENTS:  At first glance, the ornament lying on the ground looked unscathed. But as I picked it up, I could see the whole back part was missing. But you know what? It was still beautiful, and I even considered taking it home and hanging it on my tree. I knew if I positioned it just right, no one would see the parts missing.

EMOTIONS:  And that’s where we come in. There’s not a person on earth who has not felt broken at some time in life. Even though we started this life as a perfect little bundle of joy, we have incurred scrapes, missing pieces, and jagged edges along life’s journey. Each blemish and missing piece tells our story. It’s what makes us who we are. And each one of us is unique and still beautiful in our own way. 

3. Some things can’t be replaced. 

ORNAMENTS: Welp! As my ornament “bit the dust,” I knew I couldn’t replace it. “Oh well! C’est la Vie.” Now I have some old ornaments of my grandmother, who has long since passed on. And no one or nothing can replace her, but when I unwrap those ornaments year after year, they hold a special memory of her in my heart.

EMOTIONS:Throughout life, anything lost is only sometimes detrimental. Therefore, it’s a good reminder for us to emphasize things that matter. A broken ornament? “Pfft!” But taking time to appreciate what we have and cherish those we have in our lives right now? Yes, very important! 

4. Sometimes, you just have to sweep up the broken pieces and move on. 

ORNAMENTS: Okay, I’ll be honest with you. Once I told the salesman, “I’ll take all of them,” in my mind, that meant the ornaments were mine. In other words, “BE CAREFUL WITH THEM!” So, when the first one was “yanked” (maybe a slight exaggeration) off the tree, I was a little miffed (okay, more than a little)! But what could I do about it? The damage was done.

EMOTIONS: There’s a lot of water that’s gone under the bridge called life. So as you gather with family and friends over the holidays, don’t let past hurts and injustices overshadow this season’s joy. Forgive, forget and move on!

5. There are more important things than ornaments. 

ORNAMENTS: Sure, it bugged me that the store didn’t have the number of ornaments I needed. And then more annoyed when they broke one. But after my initial huff, I realized it was no big deal. Good grief! It was just an ornament! 

EMOTIONS: There will always be little annoyances in life and things that don’t always go according to plan. By putting things into perspective, we will learn not to “sweat the small stuff.” Too often, things like looking for the perfect ornament or the busyness of getting everything done for the holidays receive more care and attention than where it truly belongs. And that is our family, friends, and the other people in our world.

“The only way to get over the pain is to face it, embrace it, hug it and learn the lessons embedded within it.” ― Adele Theron

Wow! Who knew you could learn so much from a broken ornament? Honestly, I believe that little ornament means more to me now than before it broke. There are many broken people in our lives and around the world. One of them might even be you. Yes, it is Christmas time, but only sometimes is it the most wonderful time of the year. And even though adversity can make us stronger, sometimes, getting there requires a little extra help and special care. 

If you are dealing with fragile emotions as we head into the holidays. A time of year that can come with expectations and a whole array of emotions, working with a coach is an excellent way to learn and develop coping skills to help manage them.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. So, therefore, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call today. And I believe together; we can help you move forward to find the beauty even in the shards of brokenness.

This article originally appeared on Counseling Solutions of West Michigan.