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The holiday blues

JOINT BASE ANDREWS Md, -- The other night, while flipping through the channels, I ran across a Christmas special on TV. It was an old one about the year without Santa Claus. In it, a little girl sang about having a "blue Christmas without you." It reminded me this is a time of year when many people get the "blues." Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or no holiday around this time of year, it is easy to get the "blues." There is something about the shorter days, memories of past celebrations, not to mention recent tragedies that can lead us to feel sad or "blue" this time of year.

For some of us, our sadness stems from not having someone around during the holiday season.

You might be separated from your family or spouse due to your military schedule or a deployment. You might be missing someone special in your life that is no longer around. Getting through the holidays without those we love can be hard. We miss the special touches people give to the holidays.

It seems that everywhere we turn people are telling us the holidays will be much better if we receive diamond jewelry, get the latest electronic gadget, go to a lot of parties, drink the right drink, or buy the right toy. The disappointment of not getting what we are told to expect for the perfect holiday can lead to sadness as well. Just reading this has probably made you sad. So, what are you to do to beat the holiday blues?

First, I would recommend that you enjoy the moment. Don't expect things to be perfect or perfectly like you remember. Enjoy what you have and this might be your best holiday ever. Second, don't get caught up in the desire to buy happiness. No matter how hard you try, you can't. Instead, find a way to give to others something that represents who you are. The best holiday I ever had involved handing gifts out to children at a homeless shelter on Christmas Day.

Finally, honor the memories of those who can't be with you. Get the old recipe and make a batch of Grandma's special cookies, or decorate the house just like you remember when you were growing up. Whether your home looks like it was decorated by Martha Stewart or Clark Griswold, enjoy the beauty or the fun around you.

Supervisors, keep an eye on your people this time of year. If you see signs of the blues, connect that person to a helping agency. If you are the person who can't chase away the holiday blues, remember that there are many people who can help you. We are all here and available to help each other make it through the holiday without getting blue.

The Christmas Service times and locations of are as follows:

Catholic Christmas Eve Mass: Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. - Chapel 1

Protestant Contemporary Christmas Eve Service: Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. - Base Theater

Protestant Candlelight Service: Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. - Chapel 2

Protestant New Year's Eve Watch Night Service: Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. - Base Theater

Catholic New Year's Day Solemnity of Mary Holy Day of Obligation: Jan. 1 2013 at 10 a.m. Chapel 1

Also, military members who live in the dorms are invited to a home-cooked meal hosted by the Gospel Service, Dec. 23, at 2:30 p.m., at the Community Activity Center. Also, if you want to ring in the New Year in a special way, you are invited to the Watch Night Service at the Base Theater at 10 p.m.