Christmas is a celebration of peace and loving and giving, but for some LGBTI people it’s a time they dread.
We all need to keep an eye on our friends and loved ones to make sure they are in a good space over the holiday period. But apart from that, what can people do to avoid getting the ‘Christmas Blues’?
Matt Glover of MGA Counselling Services has a few positive suggestions to help people avoid the pitfalls of the season.
“In our family we always have three or four people over who are not related by blood, but they come over and celebrate and they have become part of the family,” Glover tells GNN.
“If you’ve invited an LGBTI person for Christmas, tell them it’s okay to invite someone else they may know who might be at a loose end and extend the invitation that way.”
This is especially true for people who are separated from their families.
“Family comes in all shapes and sizes, but doesn’t always have to be ‘blood’,” Glover says.
“Gather with others that are at a loose end and make your own celebration. Open your door, make it BYO everything, and enjoy the company of new and old friends.”
And for those who feel compelled to spend time with family even when it’s “horribly painful” Glover says, “Don’t let that be your main Christmas event.
“Plan for something with people you like later that evening… and try not to sit around complaining all night!”
For those who do find themselves lonely or depressed at Christmas time, Glover says they can avoid the blues by actively going out and doing something positive themselves.
“Many not only have no family at Christmas, but also have no home,” Glover points out.
“Numerous organisations provide Christmas meals to the poor and homeless, and are always looking for volunteers to help cook, serve, wash dishes, etc. Consider volunteering for one of these organisations.”
For those with a little more nerve, Glover suggests boldness.
“Invite yourself somewhere. Be bold! Ask a workmate if they have a spare spot at the table,” he says.
“An increasing number of churches are openly affirming of their LGBTI members. Consider visiting one of these churches and ask the pastor/leader if anybody has room for one more at dinner. It never hurts to ask.”
As a final note, Glover points out that having quiet time away from family, friends and parties can be positive.
“Solitude and reflection are not always a bad thing. We can be alone without being lonely,” Glover says.
“If you find yourself alone, do something you like and enjoy it. Go to the beach, bushwalk, swim, watch a movie, read a book, draw, paint, rest, meditate, and so on.”
For the rest of us – let’s keep an eye out for friends, family and loved ones who might be feeling lonely, anxious or depressed this holiday season. Reach out, and let’s be good to one another.
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