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"May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility." -Mary Anne Radmacher.

If you watch Hallmark during this Christmas season, everything seems great at Christmas. It seems like all stories have a person who does not want to participate in the Christmas cheer and another who is totally involved in Christmas. Throughout the movie, there are “issues”; then, suddenly, circumstances change, and there is a happy ending.

The holiday season is wonderful for many, and for many, it is a difficult time of the year. Some have lost loved ones, finances are difficult, and relationships may have complicated issues. There are many reasons life is hard.

After losing my son to an adoption failure, I did not decorate and begrudgingly participated in Christmas activities. I was fortunate, and people loved me and encouraged me to spend time with them. My best friend’s grandchildren became the light of my world; they call me Aunt Christy and love me as much as I love them. Christmases became joyous as I could share them with children.

Today I am fortunate and have a happy ending. I have friends that make sure I am not alone, I have children who love me, and I enjoy the holiday.

Below are some helpful tips for dealing with hardships at Christmas time.

What can a person do to help appreciate the holiday season?

1. Deck the halls with boughs of holly.

1. Start shopping.

2. Crank the holiday tunes.

3. Join a cookie exchange for Cookie Day.

4. Watch a Christmas special on TV.

5. See a movie as a family.

6. Give back.

7. Elf on the Shelf.

How can a person help someone that is struggling with the season?

1. Listen more than talk.

2. Acknowledge the loss and express your caring.

3. Find a way to include the lost loved one in the holidays.

4. Take time to tell stories and look through old photos.

5. Ask what helps and be open to what doesn't.

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