Love During the Holidays

Here is a problem that I often see in my practice.  True affection and love during the holidays often get lost amidst the celebration, parties, and good wishes for the coming year.  The emphasis is placed on joyousness, and the superficial sentiments of togetherness and cheer push down the deeper feelings that men, women, and even children have for each other. 

In a sense, merriment becomes a drug that creates a false sense of warmth and intimacy when, in fact, the realities are elsewhere. For example, there is the New Year party where families congregate.  In fact, a couple, feeling someone alienated from fellow in-laws, would rather be alone than joining into the false gaiety but the pressure to be present is great.  I often wonder how many people truly enjoy a New Year’s party beyond the pleasure of intoxication and the reassurance of knowing they were invited to the affair. 

And there lies the contradiction: to not be invited relegates one to sitting home alone and neglected.  Thus it is almost better to be invited to a bad festivity then to be ignored.  Patients who express the most satisfaction from a holiday event are those who confine attendance to a small group of folks about whom they have no ambivalent feelings.  Satisfaction lies in small numbers without forced jollity.  And a holiday party should be time-limited, so everyone leaves feeling that genuine affection has been sustained and wishing for the next reunion.

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