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Is it normal to feel depressed around Christmas or the holidays?

62 Answers
Last Updated: 05/18/2021 at 1:24pm
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United States
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Jennifer Fritz, LMSW, PhD

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Day to day life can be stressful and overwhelming and my strength is assisting my clients in a supportive, empowering and practical manner.

Top Rated Answers
November 18th, 2014 1:31pm
It is very common, I find I suffer from depression particularly around Christmas due to not being close with my family. if you don't have a stereotypical family background it can be a very isolated holiday
May 8th, 2015 2:57pm
I think it happens quite often, because you see people around you being really happy and excited over the holidays. So, you start to wonder "what's wrong with me?", or "why can't I be happy too?".
October 28th, 2014 7:43pm
It is normal to feel depressed on special occasions for various reasons, especially if the occasions remind you of traumatic events or the loss of loved ones. Sometimes it's loneliness. Sometimes you don't know what exactly makes you feel the way you do. But it's going to be fine. It's all fine, in the end.
November 2nd, 2014 5:47pm
Absolutely. It can be a very isolating time for those of us that live in solitude or don't have family near by. There's a lot of cultural pressure to be extremely happy at that time, that's really unfair to those of us struggling with mental health issues.
November 4th, 2014 2:12pm
Studies have found that the highest rate of depression is around Christmas and New Eve because that is the time when people get together, celebrate and are supposed to feel good but since a depressed person can't feel joy and doesn't have the energy to be social, it is very normal that the person will feel even more depressed. To get over this, depressed people have to make an effort and spend their holidays around people who loves them and care about them.
November 18th, 2014 11:54am
Yes. If you don't have a very great family life, the holidays can bring you down and if you have depression it really doesn't care what season it is.
November 20th, 2014 11:00am
I think it is pretty normal, actually. And even if it's not, it's completely valid and okay to feel bad, whenever it is you feel bad. However, I think it is likely other people feel depressed for many reasons around holidays. It can be stressful, there can be high expectations and fear of failure, seeing family can also be difficult for many reasons, and the weather gets dark and cold which can also play in. But, for whatever reason you're depressed - even if the reason is simply that you have depression - it's completely valid and legitimate in and of itself. Even if no one else in the world felt bad during the holidays, you're struggles would be real and important to take seriously. I hope things get better for you soon, and that you manage to get through the holidays safely. Take care.
November 5th, 2014 5:17am
I feel pretty depressed on all social gatherings with family. It constantly reminds me of how distant my relatives and I are. We just eat, drink, and move on with the next day. I come from a family that isn't that big on holidays.
October 24th, 2016 2:28pm
Yes! It's actually one of the times of year with the highest spikes in depression and suicide rates. Obviously each person is different, but often the sentimentality of the holidays can bring up grief and feelings of loss or loneliness. The stress can also negatively affect one's mood.
October 31st, 2014 12:15am
Of course it is.. It reminds you maybe of your childhood and makes you nostalgic... Or maybe you know you won't see the persons you want to see in these holidays
December 29th, 2015 3:59pm
Contrary to the belief, a lot of people feel depressed around Christmas or the holidays period, this might be caused by feeling lonely, or anxiety. Just don't hesitate to reach out to someone, express your feeling, you are not alone in this, just talk and you'll discover that others might help :)
January 5th, 2016 8:17am
Yes, to a depressed person it will seem that everyone is enjoying life and he/she is not during the holidays.
November 1st, 2014 2:18pm
Due to a multitude of reasons, many people feel depressed during the Holidays. It's a normal thing that many people experience. Whether it's due to family reasons, money reasons, or anything else, it's something that you shouldn't feel ashamed of. If you're having troubles with depression, feel free to talk to a listener. We'd be happy to help!
October 28th, 2014 1:55pm
Christmas and other holidays are very stressful times and it is common to feel down during these periods.
November 13th, 2014 2:00pm
it heavily depends on what you associate with christmas, the people you are celebrating it with, and what you personally feel surrounding the holidays, and of course, your personal situation. you cant force a happy holiday spirit if you arent feeling well about stuff, so dont blame yourself if you cant
May 22nd, 2015 6:24pm
Yes. It is normal. Because sometimes you will bored or no where to go to. And some might feel lonely on christmas or the holidays because there's no one to celebrate with.
October 30th, 2014 3:18am
Usually during the Holidays more people feel depressed. It is also during the season of SAD "Seasonal Affective Disorder" When you don't receive enough sunlight, your emotions can sometimes go out of whack. That, and the stresses of Christmas shopping. It's best to do some breathing exercises and concentrate on what's most important: family time! And food. Don't forget food. Bacon.
February 14th, 2017 6:33pm
Yes it is. Most people feel like that because there is something bothering them. Di something happen recently? Do you have a bad memory related to the holidays?
November 11th, 2014 10:04pm
I wouldn't say "normal" per-say because that's subjective, but it definitely isn't out of the ordinary. I, too, feel depressed around the holidays for various reasons.
November 12th, 2014 5:32am
Feeling a left out of the holiday cheer is perfectly normal. Personally, I always get a little blue during Christmas. And it's okay to feel down - don't beat yourself up over it, or feel like you have to be happy because it's the holidays. We all go through hard stuff, and just because it's the holidays, it doesn't mean that all our stress will fly away. In fact, holiday stress is very common.
Anonymous - Expert in Depression
November 14th, 2014 12:26pm
Yes, this may be due to not being able to see friends as often, not having the productive life you had previously or maybe due to a change in season (some people feel unhappy during winter or long periods without sunshine)
October 30th, 2014 8:32pm
Different people react to times in different ways. Sometimes if you struggle with depression in general, the sight of so much Christmas cheer can just be more saddening or disheartening. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere where winter and the holidays coincide, you may find that the season in general makes you more depressed. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, and is usually caused by a lack of vitamin D (due to decreased sunshine) and a drop in the brain's serotonin production.
November 3rd, 2015 6:59am
Some people have personal memories that affect Christmas, there is no time when you should or shouldn't feel emotions however if it's because it's the holidays, maybe try getting into the festivities
November 4th, 2014 4:35pm
Where I live it is common that depression sets in during winter. Mostly it is a form of anxiety and deep sadness sourcing from a well of loneliness. When society is very individualistic you are expected to take care of yourself on your own, and the vast majority need the comfort of other humans to feel good. Otherwise depression takes the form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which gives you depression-like symptoms. It strikes in countries where you live in darkness during winter time.
November 14th, 2014 11:26am
It is fairly common, and there can be many reasons for it. One reason is something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It's a common condition characterized by depression during the winter caused by the reduced exposure to sunlight, which triggers the release of the neurotransmitters that make you happy. Another cause can be feelings related to family. Maybe there's someone you miss, or you are feeling lonely. During the holidays, we often have high expectations of how it will be and it can be discouraging when these are not met. Without knowing your situation, there are many reasons that it could be, but it is common.
June 23rd, 2015 12:00am
It is completely normal to feel depressed around Christmas, or the holidays; especially if someone is alone for the holidays. Family stress can also lead to holiday depression as well.
June 29th, 2015 4:58pm
Yes, it is normal to feel depressed around Christmas, holidays, and even birthdays, anniversaries or certain times of the years. Christmas/the holidays cause a lot of stress for many people and certain days of the years trigger emotions for people. It is very important that you surround yourself with positive people during these times and have resources available if you need them for the times of the year that you know you struggle with.
November 2nd, 2014 11:50pm
It's normal to feel depressed at any time of the year. The holidays usually have a lot going on and sometimes we feel we can't manage it all, leading us to fall into a depressive state. There is also seasonal affective disorder, which of course happens with the change of a season(usually the same one every year).
November 5th, 2014 8:41pm
I feel that it is very normal. I personally have felt that way around these times of "joy". I believe that we can be on one emotion spectrum (happiness), but we can also acknowledge the presence of the opposite (sadness) in those times. It's there, but it's the individuals choice if they allow it to overcome them.
November 10th, 2014 11:52pm
Yes. Winter is a time when most sufferers of depression relapse. The atmosphere outside is miserable. Missing someone also worsens this over Christmas.