Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Gourmet Garage – Soho, NYC (Photo courtesy of NoelG)

One of my friends in New York loves fresh fruit. The weekend before Thanksgiving, she would have already ordered online and delivered at her apartment an ample supply of apples and oranges. She would put them in large baskets near her Christmas tree. The scent of which would add magic to her apartment beautifully adorned with Christmas ornaments. As for the grapes, nuts and cheeses, she would just walk over and buy them at Zabar’s on Broadway and then have them delivered. Zabar’s, by the way, is a gourmet Epicurean emporium much like Gourmet Garage (photo of which accompanies this blog post).

To her friends, her apartment has become a sanctuary of sorts during the Christmas holiday season. Depressed by a feeling of emptiness or strung-out by the stress of preparations for it, most friends would stop by at her place to recollect their senses or regain the needed emotional balance even if for a couple of hours. She would serve tea or wine and of course, fresh fruit. I always favored the apples and cheese.

As a kid in Manila, the Christmas season was always filled with great anticipation and sheer joy. But as I got older in New York, I became more aware of how adult issues gave the Christmas holiday season an entirely different meaning; that instead of jovial excitement, a feeling of depression, loneliness or anxiety may manifest instead.

For some, financial constraint is the reason — unable to give every one the ideal gift or prepare the usual festive banquet for the entire family and relatives. Others, on the other hand, may complain of their inability to be with their loved ones or close friends; ironically, it is during these times when stressful family and relationship issues would often arise. And in such instances, forgiveness is the key element to survive the holiday blues. That instead of devising ways to get even, forgiving the culprit may in fact deviate any one from harboring negative emotions.

In her new book, Heal the Hurt: How to Forgive and Move On, Dr. Macaskill guides her readers how to come to terms with issues around forgiveness. She explains, “We often find it very difficult to forgive people for the things they have done to us, we carry around hurt, anger and sometimes fear and can spend large amounts of time and emotional energy brooding over the wrongs done to us. Bad feelings can escalate, particularly around Christmas-time, when financial difficulties, relationship issues and family problems appear to be magnified. This can prevent us from getting on with our lives and can ultimately make us ill. I argue that in refusing to forgive or at least to put the hurt behind us we are frequently allowing the perpetrator to continue to hurt us. I introduce the reader via exercises and examples to strategies to help them to deal with the resentment and anger linked to the perpetrator so that they can out the events behind them and get on with their lives.”

There are many published books out there, as well as online resources to help those afflicted by this seasonal disorder. If you know of any other effective measures or resources, please share them with us. Having them to pass along to afflicted family members or friends may turn out to be the best Christmas gift that we can give to them. Along with some apples and oranges, of course!


Heal the Hurt: How to Forgive and Move On

By Dr. Ann Macaskill
Sheldon Press

Surviving the Christmas Blues
Tips by psychotherapist Beth Mares

Tips for Reducing Christmas Stress
Better Health Channel

Photo credit: NoelG
Nclicks @ blogdrive

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posted by Señor Enrique at 8:01 AM


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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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