Kendra Scott necklaces here & here

This is going to be another post where I don't talk about the outfit I'm wearing above. I understand if it's too much for some, and it won't hurt my feelings if you skip it. I've decided to start a series called real talk, where I discuss things that are relevant to me and how I'm feeling. I'm sure you've noticed it over the last few months but now it's got a name! So here we go...

This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. So why do so many people struggle with it? For a long time I assumed it was just me being a grinch, but after working with foster children and at-risk youth, I came to know that many of us experience the holiday blues. Sadly it's not just adults either. It's children who aren't with their families, or young adults who have lost their parents to drug addictions and the law. That's the part that really breaks me. My friend lost her father a few years ago to an aggressive form of cancer. He was her rock, and in an instant, he was gone. Other friends of mine have lost their families to infidelity, divorce, and misunderstandings. Even more have lost loved ones to terminal illness or inevitable old age.

My story is somewhere in the muck. My parents are divorced, and I haven't spent a single Christmas with my dad since I was 18. He calls each year to say hi, but the conversation is short. I'm lucky that I have Nate's family to spend Christmas with. They are incredibly generous and kind-hearted, and there's no doubt in my mind that even if I wasn't married to their son, I would still be invited over because that's who they are. My sister-in-law is a hair stylist, and she invites one of her older clients over every year because she doesn't have family here in America (she's from Germany). 

But the blues creep in despite the kindness of my "adopted" family. I thought it would go away when I married, but if anything, it's gotten worse and I have no idea why. My friends tell me this will change once I have little ones running around, and I really hope they're right. I guess it boils down to feeling a lack of control. I can't control that my parents don't get together anymore. My mom isn't in the kitchen cooking, my grandma's booming laughter isn't reverberating throughout my house, my dad doesn't get to wrap his arms around me. And conversely, Nate and I haven't yet established our own traditions so it doesn't feel as special as it should. I'm 32 and I should be over these things by now, but the wounds haven't quite healed yet. Nate and I plan on going to midnight mass this year because I think that faith is a huge part in being at peace with the past, present, and future.  

I hope faith will propel me into being grateful for what I do have, not what I have lost. The past is best left behind, and the future hopefully holds better things. I just ask for two simple things this season that no doubt make the holidays easier for those of us that don't really enjoy them: 

1) Don't be a jerk on the road. I know everywhere is crowded with shoppers trying to check off their lists. But please don't flip me off on the way to the mall because you need to get your presents like yesterday. That's not the point. If you think that is the point, I feel sorry for you.

2) When you do get to the mall, or a restaurant to celebrate, don't be so hasty. Open doors for people, say thank you. I'm observant to a fault while I'm out in my community and am sometimes disturbed by people's lack of manners and general politeness towards others. On the other hand, I feel restored when I witness acts of simple kindness. More of that!

I hope reading this didn't give you the blues! This isn't my intention. I just want to point out that amidst all the twinkling lights, hot cocoa, and Christmas carols... that some people are hurting. If you love this time of year then that's great! I wish everyone did.

I just prefer the Summer. 


  1. I prefer Summer too, yea the Holiday is not the best time of the year for me but it doesn't last long so I try my best to just push through. This year my mom will be here so that will make it better. I usually just try to keep busy and work on a project :) Lovely outfit too.


  2. Hm, well..I don't want to discourage you but for me, having kids doesn't do a lot for the holiday blues. You might be different but there are no guarantees (as you already know!). I don't want to get to mopey in the comment box but you're not alone in the holiday blues. I'll just leave it at that. :)
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  3. I think it's brave of you to be so open- yes, the holidays are a fun time for many, but they're a struggle for others. I think it's lovely that Nate's family is there for you- and whether you end up shaking off the holiday blues eventually or not, you're loved! :)

    Le Stylo Rouge

  4. I can totally relate to all of this. The little girl in me comes out every Christmas wishing things could be the way they used to be. I try to stay positive and use all my self care tools but the reality is it makes me very sad I will probably never get to spend another Christmas with my mom and sister. My three best girlfriends are all married with young children and extended families of their own so it definitely gets lonely at times. Not throwing a pity party over here ( well, maybe a little bit) it is just the reality of my situation. I hear you.

  5. Thank you for this post Noelle. I love your real talk series very much and wish more bloggers shared something deeper in their blogs.

    I understand the holiday blues and used to suffer from them too. I have a sister who is always at odds with the family. She's suffering from NPD (she doesn't want to get help though) so the holidays were tough as we never knew if she wanted to spend it with the rest of us. But since I had Sofia, the holiday blues went away as my family of 3 became my main family with the addition of a child :) Christmas is a magical time seeing it through her eyes...

    My husband and I host a Christmas brunch every year and invite all of our friends that don't have family in town and are unable to travel. We'be been hosting it for 9 years now. It's good to spend time with family but also remembering those who may have a tough time for that exact same reason. I also have a friend who lost a sibling to suicide on Christmas Eve. I make sure to reach out to her more this time of the year.

    I like the list you have about kindness to everyone this time of the year. What I'd like to add to that is being generally more giving. Hubby and I can afford to buy each other really exoensive presents. But we don't (we only buy gifts for Sofia) and instead spend the money on necessities for homeless families. This year we supported a refugee family. Giving to those who need it more puts me in a higher spirit. I'm an atheist so I don't believe in Christmas being about Christ, but I believe it's about being gracious, generous and kind.

    Hope you have a Merry Christmas :)

  6. I think there are many who appreciate you being open about the fact that the holidays are difficult for some. Personally the time change and the getting dark sooooo early is extremely hard on me. I struggle with anxiety and the whole pressure to shop and the crowds really causes me to fall back into not wanting to leave the house mode. I will say I am blessed with 3 kiddos and for me their excitement helps keep things in perspective. We did more decorating this year and to see their faces light up helps ease the suffocating anxiety I feel at times. We make a point to help other families anonymously, be kind and hold doors for strangers and pay for people behind us in the drive-thru etc... We make an effort to do this year around but especially at Christmas time because there are so many hurting people in this world and showing love goes such a long way in not only helping other people but helping yourself. I think you are very brave and strong by just admitting your feelings and it sounds like you have a great support system. Merry Christmas and Holiday blessings to you and your family!!

  7. Thanks for sharing! I definitely think the holidays can be hard for a whole host of reasons. I like knowing more about you and understanding what it's like for you. I'm sorry, and I do hope once you all have a family it will feel different. I have a wonderful immediate family, and they are still stressful sometimes. I like your reminders at the end to.
    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  8. For as full of love and joy that the holidays are supposed to be, there are always equal parts stress and depression. I wish I knew how to make it be different. On Thanksgiving I was home with my parents and it was just the two of them and my sister and I. My dad threw a fit because we put marshmallows on the sweet potatoes (we're Italian and this is foreign to us) and basically my mom, sister and I all wanted to walk out, abandon the dinner we'd spent the last two days making and just get away from the negativity. We didn't, and no one spoke to my dad for the rest of the night, meanwhile he kept telling the dog how dry the turkey was (which it wasn't). Anyway, the point of my story is, I'm with you. The holidays aren't about a perfect gift or a perfect meal, they are about family and love and being grateful for all we have in life.


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