The holidays are looming and many of us get tied up with family, friends, decorating, cooking, baking and shopping. When you boil all the activities down to a common thread they all have something to do with giving. Giving and doing for others always makes us feel good. We love seeing the smiles when gifts are opened and appreciated. We enjoy hearing the compliments on our cooking when others appreciate our carefully prepared meals. We embrace the sense of comfort and belonging when we are surrounded by our extended families.


However, for many, the holidays can be the most depressing time of the year. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. Certainly some reasons are clinical. However, other bouts of depression and feeling down can be linked to an individual feeling disenfranchised. Not everyone has a family. There are numerous individuals who have no one in their lives through no fault of their own.


Take a minute to look around you and be aware of your co-workers and neighbors. Is there someone who is recently divorced and does not live near family? Is there a person who has lost a spouse in the last year? The first holiday after losing a loved one can be the hardest on the emotions. Is there someone you know that lives alone and had no one in his or her life?


Another reason for the feelings of depression is the physical inability to give. There are so many people unemployed that just getting the rent paid is a struggle. Purchasing gifts for family and friends is impossible.


You can help bring a smile to someone who is going through depression during this time. You cannot save the whole world, but just a few minutes of your time can bring some joy into someone else’s life. These individuals do not want your pity. Only sincerity will bring them comfort.


Purchase a turkey and tell your unemployed neighbor that you won it in an office raffle but you already have one for your dinner. Could she use it? Does the neighbor have children? When you bake your cakes and cookies, make an extra batch and hand-deliver them with a warm holiday greeting.  You can be creative. You can do something like visiting the person you know is alone and ask them if you can hide from all your company for 30 minutes – you need some quiet time. It wouldn’t hurt to take a plate of the baked goods with the excuse that all the sweets are giving the kids too much of a sugar rush.  That is believable.