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Coping with Holiday Emotions

A How-to Guide for Dealing with Difficult Emotions

written by Laura Dabney, M.D. November 26, 2019
Coping with Holiday Emotions

I know, I know … you’re supposed to be full of merriment and joy this time of year, right? Meh. In truth, you’re probably full of emotion this holiday season. From feeling anxious about cooking a great meal or guilty for not having more time, or angry that you have to deal with “the same old situation”, or frustrated, or depressed or totally burnt out, or … the list goes on.

And when Santa squeezes his fat ass down the chimney tonight, he’s going to find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. – Clark Griswold, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Believe it or not, most people are not entirely joyful throughout November and December. Knowing this, we’ve put together a list of coping strategies to help you deal with the most common holiday-triggering emotions — anger, guilt, and anxiety — and still make the most of the season.


Something is said or done that hits an old nerve. Your Dad has nothing positive to say about your life, your Mom calls you a name or your sibling brings up an embarrassing story in front of your significant other. Suddenly, the fire builds in your chest and you feel a distinct need to hit something or run or yell.

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