The Doctor Is In: Reframing the Christmas Blues


Full disclosure: I love Christmas. Like, in a frenetic, maniacal way.

I love all the glittering, sparkly, tinsel-covered days leading up to Dec. 25. But glancing at my timeline across social media, I’ve begun to notice a trend: Not everyone shares my sentiments about the season of joy and cheer. And while I understand that good tidings and wishing happiness unto your fellow (wo)man may not be everyone’s schtick, there seems to be a deeper issue.


There are simply some people who don’t like Christmas.

Maybe they don’t like the facade of it all. Maybe some don’t feel Christmas because it was never truly celebrated, because of religious reasons. Or maybe it was because their family didn’t have enough to provide as far as gift giving during the holiday season is concerned. For some people, Christmastime reminds them of the loss of a loved one.

In these types of situations, it’s often helpful to try to reframe the situation in order to prevent one’s peace of mind from spiraling out of control—or, worse, into a depression.

As a culture, think about how we even celebrate Christmas. In truth, Christmas has little to do with the day of Jesus Christ’s birth. So, because of a cultural reframing of sorts, we’ve all decided for centuries now that Christmas has to be celebrated on Dec. 25, and that this coincides with the birth of Jesus. But much like our culture’s reframing of Christmas, you can use reframing to your advantage, especially if the holiday season isn’t one you look forward to with each coming year.

One of the reasons I love Christmas so much is that as a Los Angeles-based introvert—and New York native—I love how empty even big cities become, which means I don’t have to be around very many people.

If you’re like me, you can use this to your benefit in numerous ways: You can choose to travel on Christmas, which is when airports are often ghost towns. If you have the time and means, plan a trip and fly out on Christmas Day to avoid crowds and lines. And that way, by the time you get to your destination, Christmas will almost be over and you won’t have to deal with a celebration in which you don’t want to partake.

You can also use Christmas Day to partake in other cultures’ goods and services. There’s always the joke that only Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas, but so are Korean spas! And since many of them stay open 24 hours, I can’t think of a more relaxing and deserving way to unwind after a year of utter foolishness brought on by the Orange Terror. You can (temporarily) rub and scrub away all the oppression and reminders that this country was built on the pain of people of color, and then float your way home for the most luxurious nap.

If you’re really into shopping (and really, who isn’t?), you also can occupy your time by scouting all the amazing things you’ll be able to buy at after-Christmas sales. And if you’re super cheap (like me), you can actually take part in some of those amazing sales starting Dec. 26 and give belated Christmas gifts. After all, they say it’s the thought that counts, not the day you give it on.

And given the shitstorm 2017 has turned out to be—on so many levels—you may actually want to clear out not only your mind but your actual physical space in preparation for the new year. I can’t think of a more productive way to spend Christmas Day than to clean out your closet and clear away the dust that might’ve been settling in your home—and heart—to make way for the best you for the New Year.

When dealing with this time of year and all that it brings, reframing is the most important tool at your disposal. Make your own traditions. Make your own memories. Make it so that you don’t have to suffer, even if everyone else seems intent on making you feel terrible for not being as happy as they are. If you always make sure that self-care is your utmost priority, you’ll always know that you’re putting yourself first.


And what’s a better gift than that?

NY raised me. LA made me. Full-time Black woman. Psychiatrist. Mental health advocate. Eternal boss.