The holiday season is great in so many ways - delicious food out your ears, great movie releases, festive lights that make the early sunset a little more bearable. But for many people (and all of us at times), the holiday season brings a lot of stress, anxiety, or sadness. Maybe you don't get to see your family this year. Maybe you have to spend time with family you don't get along with. It could be the first holiday since losing a loved one. Whatever you are going through, having a few books to help you get through the holidays can be so impactful in caring for yourself.
Here are our top picks for books to help you get through the holidays:
Be Angry, But Don't Blow It by Lisa Bevere
Whether you struggle with anger or just react a little too rashly to triggering actions or words of others, Lisa Bevere's book is one to check out. Lisa is a Christian speaker, author, and minister. Yet, she confesses in this book that she has struggled a lot with anger - lashing out, reacting to inconveniences with rage, and setting an altogether poor example for her family. Be Angry, But Don't Blow It is not a guilt trip demanding you change your behaviors or let people steam-plow you. It's an action plan for understanding the root cause of your anger and developing non-destructive habits to deal with it.
One of the things I loved most about this book is that Lisa by no means tells you that feeling anger is wrong (yes, even Jesus got angry). But you can have passion for justice without compromising compassion for others. And it doesn't mean letting people take advantage of you. When difficult conversations arise when family gets together for the holidays, you'll be equipped to defend your beliefs without damaging relationships.
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend
Boundaries is, in a sense, a classic of personal development and healthy living. It's super practical and provides a life-changing new perspective on how you treat relationships with others.
If you ever dread interactions with someone in your extended family, find yourself running ragged to please everyone, or feel responsible for everyone's holiday happiness, then you probably need to set some boundaries. Cloud and Townsend are the experts. They'll shut down any preconceived notions that saying "no" to people is wrong or mean. Having boundaries isn't just about knowing when to say yes and when to say no. It's about understanding the importance of taking care of yourself in the midst of caring for other people.
Let's face it: holidays are stressful. Planning feasts, attending parties every weekend (and probably a few mid-week ones), shopping for people you barely know. It's easy to get worn out, sick, or even depressed in the midst of the hustle. If you want relief from the burdens of this time of year, I highly recommend this guide to setting boundaries. Your body and mind will thank you.
The Joy of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton
Ah, #FOMO. The force that takes so many of us by storm each holiday season. The "fear of missing out" on Christmas parties, having the best lights on your house, making more cookies than can fit in your refrigerator (maybe that's just me...?), and buying gifts for LITERALLY everyone in your life, from your third cousin to the mailman you once said hi to. There are so many traditions, so many NEW traditions you've always wanted to start, and so. much. food. It's impossible to cram everything into a month and a half (being generous here for you pre-Thanksgiving Christmas celebrators) - yet we try. Why? FOMO.
That's why The Joy of Missing Out is so refreshing. Tonya Dalton has been that #FOMO person - doing all the things and going to all the events and PLANNING all the other events. Just reading about the chaos of here life pre-JOMO is exhausting. But that's why she's so passionate about sharing the actual JOY that is found in "missing out." Saying no to things so you can get more rest, limiting Social Media consumption, and prioritizing the things that matter most are never as easy as they seem, yet SO important. In a world where women are constantly pressured to DO more, Tonya lays out a literal diagram of how little time we have in life. She explains that being productive is not the same as being busy.
I Think You're Wrong But I'm Listening by Sarah Stewart Holland & Beth Silvers
Okay, yes. We talk about this one a lot on Page Chaser. But it's only because it's so revolutionary and so NEEDED in our culture. We've become people who can't discuss opinions, beliefs, convictions, or essentially any of our thoughts for fear of conflict. And truthfully, that fear isn't far-fetched.
Getting together with extended family can cause a lot of friction. Almost every family has "that uncle" who dives into a tirade about the state of the American government the second you've tucked into your turkey dinner together. Or that Grandma who, bless her heart, has no idea how offensive her comments are to your guests. I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening) is a great pre-holiday gathering read to get you thinking about how to put frustration aside and engage in eye-opening conversation while disagreeing. Even if it's not politics - you'll find great tips to get through the holidays with your familial relationships intact.
When Holidays Hurt by Bo Stern
Redeeming the holidays after losing a loved one or while going through a difficult time isn't easy. The spark of old memories and brighter times around Christmastime is so painful during a season of grief or change. And if you are going through this right now, chances are you've come to dread the holiday season.
When Holidays Hurt is written with so much heart, from a voice who has been through it, too. One we couldn't leave off a list of books to help get you through the holidays, this book combines stories and scripture in a unique way. I love that this book doesn't try to convince you not to hurt, but instead validates that hurt and gently guides you through it. You don't have to suffer through the holidays, but can redeem them as joyful times despite loss, change, or hard times.
Do you have any other books to help you get through the holidays? Share your recommendations in the comments below!
Page Chaser is operated by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. (HCCP), the publisher of Be Angry, But Don't Blow It, Boundaries, The Joy of Missing Out, I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening), and When Holidays Hurt.