I’m not a scrooge. But I’d be lying to say that I’m looking forward to Christmas. There are a lot of people who love Christmas. They embrace it. They get immersed in everything representing the Jolly Old Elf and its yuletide festivities. Friends come together to celebrate the season and the approaching New Year. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one that struggles with the holiday season. Some miss loved ones. There’s financial pressure that this season typically yields. The forces of family demands impact some of us. Many tend to drink more during the holidays, which further compounds depression, anxiety and our general outlook on life.
The past couple of years of COVID has not helped the situation. The past few years, Christmas dinner with our family had been cancelled for the safety of all parties involved, but primarily for my parents’ sake. With a couple of the kids being away at school, the size of their bubble is a little larger than I’m comfortable with. Not that they’ve been reckless, but it would be greater exposure to my parents.
We are looking forward to getting together this Christmas, aside from meeting in a driveway for a socially distanced walk. I hope I never hear the phrase “socially distanced” again.
So COVID aside, I’m not one of those people. My love of Christmas was lost when we lost our beloved Maddie. I haven’t been for the past eight Christmases. It’s not to say that once upon a time, I didn’t enjoy the Christmas celebrations. I genuinely loved it. For me, it was about the kids. I lived for them waking up at 5 am and then negotiating what time we could see if Santa came.
Once we agreed upon a suitable time, I’d go down to the bottom of the stairs, plug in the Christmas tree, put on some appropriate melodies and make a pot of coffee that we’d enjoy with some Bailey’s or Ameretto. We’d allow the kids to come down the stairs as soon as the stage was set. I’d capture their wide-eyed expressions with massive smiles on their faces that only St Nick’s visit could inspire. I’d catch those priceless moments. Thank God I captured those moments.
This Christmas will be my last year of having my youngest, Sawyer, home full-time before he heads off to university next year. I can’t believe how quickly the last 7.5 years have flown by. The guy in the mirror looks older; sometimes, I wish he felt better. I try not to drink, knowing alcohol doesn’t serve my depression well. Last year, I carried that theme through the next seven months. My depression was better for it.
It’s a funny thing about aging and our relationship with alcohol. Many friends have chosen to drink less or give up drinking altogether; unfortunately, others are doubling down. Could this indicate everyone’s level of happiness or mental health and how they cope with it? Some acknowledge that alcohol only worsens the problem, whereas others use alcohol to mask it.
One day, I’d like to redefine my relationship with the holiday season. Today, I’m grateful to spend time with my boys and family. I have two young nieces that embody everything I miss about Christmas; enthusiasm, excitement and innocence. The joy on their faces brings a big smile to my face. Their energy reminds me so much of Maddie at that age. Maddie loved all things Christmas. She was the designated present disperser, primary Christmas tree ornament placer and determined the strategic placement of where everyone sat at Christmas dinner. The latter was so she could sit beside her cousin Emma and partner in crime. Thinking back at those times today makes me smile. That is one thing the holiday season will never be able to take from me.
I know many individuals struggle emotionally, financially and physically this time of year. Try to find something or someone that you are grateful for over the holidays or what you could be thankful for this year. Try to get outside for a walk every day. Talk to someone over the phone or in person daily (texting doesn’t count). Think again before pouring another drink, thinking it will make you feel better. Don’t be heroic. We all feel down sometimes, so don’t be afraid to tell someone how you truly feel because you’re not alone.
Through the bankruptcy of his first business, a strong balance sheet means nothing unless you can get the money out of your business and into your hands personally and tax efficiently.
When selling your business, this is even more relevant, as this likely will represent the largest tax event in your lifetime. You can write a big cheque to CRA or give it to a cause you are passionate about. There is a strategic way to get the money you gave to a charity back into your family’s hands again.
His business, The Finish Line Group, aims to help support the entrepreneur’s financial, philanthropic, and emotional needs. Also, he is the Executive Director of How Are You Feeling, a program that teaches kids how to understand and manage their emotions.
Chris’ Why Statement is, “To openly communicate the lessons learned from my past so that others will thrive in their lives, minimize their setbacks and leave a positive and lasting legacy.”