Holi-DAZE: Trepidations and Transformations of the Holi-Day Season

The most wonderful time of the year?

Alison Kennedy-Davis, Adjunct Professor, Trinity International University-Florida

The anticipation and immersion in the holiday spirit can be a profound soul-enriching experience marked by the interplay of Trepidation and Transformation. Those who comprehend the essence of self can honor the journey through the duality of apprehension and personal growth, inclusive of challenges that many face during the holiday season. There is a side of human nature that desires and yearns for celebratory moments, beautifully wrapped on the outside while the gift that awaits often resembles the embodiment of sadness and sacrifice. An indispensable expectation of the Holiday season is the welcoming of jubilation juxtaposed with sentimental precautions in the silence of the night and joy to the world.


Religious symbolism and traditions

The Holi-Daze captures Nativity Scenes, symbolizing the birth of Jesus as the “reason for the season.” Evergreens represent diversity with multiple colors, rainbows and snow-white trees adorned with flashing lights that dance, twinkle and blink throughout the night. For those who embrace all things merry and bright, the constant moving of lights can be a holiday delight. The bells may rock and some may jingle, yet it is crucial to recognize that for some individuals, these dynamic displays can act as holiday triggers. Balancing the festive atmosphere with sensitivity to diverse preferences ensures an inclusive and enjoyable holiday season for everyone. Connect with the spiritual essence of the season by engaging with community volunteerism and feel the joy of being a servant to humanity.


Mental health and wellbeing

“Do you hear what I hear?”

The Holi-Daze signals a surge in Psychopathology linked to the perception that everyone else is immersed in warm and affectionate family connections. Feelings of loneliness, despair, isolation, depressed moods and anxiety drape like ornaments on their thoughts while they navigate around the mistletoe. The Holiday Blues phenomenon prompts the mind to negotiate ways to unearth emotions of past seasons with an abundance of memories devoted to agitation rather than love and laughter. Even Elvis crooned about being blue during Christmas. The stigma and distress associated with not being in the holiday spirit can be burdensome and overwhelming. Cultivating creativity and expressing oneself can provide authentic ways to plan, contributing to your overall well-being. Envision your version of Holiday Health and harness with intentions the obligations to graciously give self-love.


Balancing expectations

“You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Shout, I’m telling You Why.”

Holi-DAZEThe Holi-Daze often display the discordance of emotional expectations from A to Z with the inability to regulate or balance: Anticipation/Anxiety, Belief/Bewilderment, Creativity/Crash, Desires/Disgust, Excitement/Effort, Fun/Fear, God/Godless, Happy/Homeless, Interested/Ignored, Jubilant/Jealousy, Kindness/Killjoy, Laughter/Lonely, Magical/Mean, Nice/Naughty, Options/Outcast, Peace/Pain, Quietness/Quirky, Ready/Reckless, Santa/Scrooge, Together/Temptations, Unity/Ugly, Victorious/Victim, Winner/Weapon, X-mas/X-ray, Yearn/Yelling, and Zealous/Zero. Emotional balance isn’t only necessary, it’s a Holiday Deal breaker. Cognitive research shows that disturbing emotional reactions hinder our ability to engage and socialize which could contribute to increased isolation. To cultivate emotional balance, a sprinkle of emotional self-awareness leads to transformation.


Embracing resilience

“I’ll be home for Christmas.”

The Holi-Daze carries a shadow side with grief and loss as new members of the guest list. These were once loved ones who helped prepare meals, adorned the house, strung up lights, set tables, assembled toys, danced to music, baked special desserts, sang Christmas carols, wrapped presents, donned holiday sweaters, cleaned the house and their absence disturbs the ability to celebrate the holiday in the same manner. Acknowledge the reality and grant yourself permission to feel the void, as others envelop family members in radical empathy and seasonal support. Rather than resorting to private protection to sidestep the pain, opt to embrace the resilience inherent in the human experience~ a space that is both safe and sacred. 


Reflection and renewal

“Last Christmas”

The Holi-Daze treasures may be suppressed and kept in reserve, with the opportunity for renewal to overcome the strongholds waiting to be unleased and resurrected. The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge delves into the past, present and future, offering reflections on the path that shaped his character. The capacity to transcend time through soul renewal can be rejuvenating for every individual’s life journey. Special milestones documented through pictures, journal writings, challenges and victories, serve as sources of courage and strength, inspiring us to navigate the uncertainties of the coming year. The bravery to lean toward optimism and thrive in anticipation of the future radiates like the bright star atop a Christmas tree. 


Fostering gratitude

“The More You Give” (The More You Will Have)

Have we drifted away from the true meaning of gratitude during the holiday season and throughout the year? Attitude fosters gratitude, directly elevating our outlook.

The Holi-Daze calls for a moment of reflection, even for those not feeling particularly festive, to acknowledge both big and small moments of joy and goodwill throughout the holiday season. The spirit of giving can redirect our focus from negative emotions to the positive aspects of the season. Embracing the inherent value and appreciation within the Holi-Daze brings about its unique benefits. Let gratitude overflow from the heart, fostering a deep sense of connection to the river of love and kindness. The Trepidations and Transformations of the Holi-Daze begin with a choice rooted in the spirit of altruism; a pro-social behavior that initiates internal change. Establishing a tradition of simple acts of gratitude will offer new perspectives, enhancing our appreciation for the myriad of emotions that accompany the holiday season.


Alison Kennedy-Davis, Ed.D., NCC, QS, LMHC, LPC, ACS, SME, is an Adjunct Professor of Mental Health Counseling at Trinity International University-Florida. www.tiu.edu/florida 

For more on dealing with holiday mentalities, read: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/all-i-want-for-christmas-is/

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