Seven Reasons Seniors Might Feel the Holiday Blues

Did the Grinch Steal Your Christmas?

Why would anyone write a blog entitled, Seven Reasons Seniors Might Feel the Holiday Blues in December?  After all, the old song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  There are a variety of reasons people can be sad any time of the year. No, the Grinch did not steal your Christmas. But, with the holiday season in full swing, there is more emphasis on family and spending time with people. When we don’t have people around us, Christmas can seem like an especially lonely time. Here we take a look at some reasons you may feel like the Grinch stole your holiday spirit.

Mobility is less than it used to be

Twenty years ago it was easy to go to work parties, family parties, church parties, and other holiday events. With old injuries or arthritis, just thinking about getting in and out of the car and moving around in the cold air does not have the twinkle it used to.  It is difficult to fully participate in the festivities that once held so much enjoyment.

Living Alone 

About 28% (13.8 million) of older persons lived alone (9.3 million women, 4.5 million men) in 2017. Administration for Community Living  Also remember that many of those who live alone do not drive. Contact with other people is irregular. No longer do we hear “kids jingle belling” or anyone “telling you to be of good cheer.” We are social beings, and, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you need people in your life.


The holidays are a time we expect to decorate with special lights and candles. Remembering loved ones and those merry and bright days gone by can increase our loneliness.

Money Stress

Living on a reduced or fixed income, one might not be able to give the way they used to. This can cause feelings of inadequacy in living up to past holiday gift-giving.

Traditions No Longer Apply

If one is living alone or in a care community, many family-oriented traditions no longer happen. It is easy to long for the old home and the fun holiday routine.

Light Exposure

The December holiday season sees the shortest days of the year. Many people feel the winter blues, caused by less hours of light in the northwest. Motivation can be sapped with this lack of light. There is such a thing as seasonal depression.  “If you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor.  If you are feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day, you should see your doctor.” Seasonal Affective Disorder

High Expectations

Expecting that we can have an active holiday with lots of friends and family around can lead to much disappointment. Adjust your expectations of yourself and your energy levels. Also, adjust your expectations of your children and grandchildren. Remember how busy it can get for families with extra time required for work parties, school activities, and club programs during these days.

You Are Not Alone

Do I write these seven reasons to encourage sadness? Not at all! Sometimes it helps to know you are not alone in feeling the holiday blues. This is true, especially when the culture says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  See the next article, Seven Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues, where I will share ideas about overcoming the Grinch and making the season realistic and merry.

Christine Blankenship

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