The holiday season is fast approaching, bringing with it a festive and warm atmosphere. It also means I have to lug out the Christmas tree. But I digress. Seriously, the holidays are a time to gather with family, share delicious meals, and create precious memories. The streets are adorned with sparkling lights, and store windows come alive with colorful decorations. Christmas carols can be heard everywhere, adding a magical touch to the ambiance. All the same, how do you handle it when the holidays are hard? What do you say to someone when the holidays are hard?
For most people, the holidays represent the perfect opportunity to take some time for themselves, relax, and recharge. Whether it’s getting lost in a good book by the fireplace, savoring a cup of hot chocolate, or admiring the beauty of nature dressed in its white coat while watching holiday movies. Honey, that’s not everyone’s story, though.
When the holidays are hard…
Some feel overwhelmed by the stress of preparations and expectations.
Others may experience the loneliness and sadness that sometimes accompany this time of year.
Loneliness. Grief. Disappointment. Each of these can creep into the holiday season.
As we enter the holiday season, I think it is essential to remember that each individual has unique circumstances and experiences, and it’s important to be mindful and compassionate towards those who may not be having their best time during this festive season.
It is like being careful who you say “Happy Mother’s Day to during May. Everybody is not a mother. And everybody is not happy it’s Mother’s Day. This is especially true for people whose mothers have passed on.
Similarly, we have to be careful about the holiday season and how we engage others when we express it.
What if someone just buried their most precious left one? Or what if someone found out they have a terrible disease?
I am not trying to put a damper on the holiday season; I just want to advocate for being a little more sensitive about how we interact with others during this time.
By no means do I want you to double down your holiday sentiment. In fact, I think it’s a perfect gateway to provide a little emotional support and human connection during these times.
It means we can reach out to those needing a helping hand or some company by offering a friendly gesture, a kind word, or simply by listening.
What to say when the holidays are hard
As we immerse ourselves in the festivities, the things that really matter are the Christian spirit of love, friendship, and gratitude.
If you find out someone is having a difficult time, here are some things that just might help:
- I am so sorry this holiday season isn’t what you expected or would like it to be.
- Is there anything I can do for you during this holiday season?
- Hey, go to your porch; I sent you something to brighten your day.
- What is the best way for me to support you right now? Do you want to talk about things or not?
- What is the best way to take your mind off the sad things and put your mind on some good things?
- I know it’s a hard time for you right now, but you won’t go through it alone. I won’t let you.
- I’m gonna send you a scripture every day via text. If you don’t need it, ignore it. If you do, praise God and know I’m always here for you.
- Are you praying? If it’s hard to pray, I’ll pray with you in the mornings.
- I’m going to DoorDash you something. What do you have a taste for?
- I’m just calling you to say I love you (then hang up) *Trust me this often makes people smile when I do it. But you do whatever works with your personality.
You’re a few scriptures you can text to your friend when the holidays are hard:
- Isaiah 41:10 (NIV): “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV): “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
One holiday that really stunk for me…
A few years ago, my family split over a stupid pandemic.
See, my brother worked in a highly populated place. So, my husband wasn’t comfortable having him for dinner that year.
That broke my heart. Yeah. I cried…a lot. However, I gave my brother some weird story about why he couldn’t come.
My mom knew for sure.
She decided not to come over if he couldn’t come over. So heartwrenching. My Thanksgiving fell apart piece by piece. I hated it.
To fix things, I offered to take everyone (my mom, brother, and his wife) to an early Thanksgiving lunch at a swanky place on me. I’m talking $100 a plate.
It just wasn’t the same, I guess. Yeah, I cried more.
Well, I did survive that holiday. In fact, we all did.
So, then I packed up a whole bunch of food and headed to my mom’s. I figured we could all eat a small gathering dinner. But my mom was gone. Yeah, I cried again.
One of the things that helped me so much during this hard time was my best friend. All she said was, “I’m sorry you have to deal with that.” I loved that she did not say anything against my husband. After all, he didn’t really mean any harm. She acknowledged my feelings and expressed the sorrow that I was feeling. That was all I needed. Sometimes, that’s all anyone ever needs when they’re going through a hard time – a friend who cares and says so. No additional commentary is needed.
When the holidays are bad…do this…
Let me share what else helped me get through that stupid holiday season. This might give you some ideas of things you can say when the holidays are hard.
First: Focus on the positive: Even if things don’t go as planned, try to find something positive about your holiday experience. It could be a beautiful sunset, a delicious meal, or a memorable encounter with your crazy cousin on a crowded couch. Shifting your focus towards positive aspects can prevent a bad holiday from ruining your overall mood. Remind your friend to think of the positive things when the holidays are hard. You could tell him or her:
“I purchased a gratitude journal for you. I want you to write something in it every day that you’re grateful for during the holiday season and share it with me. Maybe it will encourage me as well as you. I’ll keep one too, and we can share what we’re grateful for via text!”
Go see – or watch a funny movie. Grab a pizza or something, take it to your friend’s house, and say, “We are going to binge-watch comedies. You pick which ones! And no, I’m not leaving and letting you drown in a pity party.” Here are some movie ideas:
- “The Lego Movie” (2014) – An animated comedy adventure that is not only funny but also cleverly constructed using Lego bricks and characters.
- “The Incredibles” (2004) – This Pixar film combines superhero action with family humor, making it enjoyable for both kids and adults.
- “Despicable Me” (2010) – Another animated gem, this movie follows the misadventures of the supervillain Gru and his quest to steal the moon, all while taking care of three young girls.
- “Home Alone” (1990) – A holiday classic about a young boy who must defend his home from burglars using his wits and clever traps.
- “Night at the Museum” (2006) – A family-friendly comedy where the exhibits at a natural history museum come to life, leading to amusing and chaotic situations.
When the holidays are hard for your friend,
Remind your friend that Jesus is in control of everything
– even the holidays.
His love and power are limitless. Isn’t it wonderful to know He can make even the worst seasons of our lives beautiful?
In times of stress, adversity, and worry, isn’t it comforting to know that?
Trusting in God during difficult times can be a source of solace and strength. It’s just so easy to forget that when we are hurting. That’s why we need good friends and positive people.
Trusting God during hard times doesn’t mean ignoring problems but rather facing them with the belief that, ultimately, there is a purpose in God’s plans and He will make a path towards better days ahead.
At the right time, you can share that with your friend. Be prayerful because nothing is worse than hearing the right advice at the wrong time.
Keep in mind that demonstrating your presence for your friend, attentively listening without passing judgment, and extending your support can be just as vital as the exact words you choose to express.
Supporting a friend through tough times is important, and offering reassurance can be very comforting.
Here are ten different ways to say, “It’s going to be okay” to a friend when the holidays are hard:
- “I’m here for you, and we’ll get through this together.”
- “I believe in your strength and resilience. You’ve overcome challenges before.”
- “This is just a chapter in your life; it’s not the whole story.”
- “I know it’s tough right now, but brighter days are ahead.”
- “You are not alone; I’m here to support you every step of the way.”
- “It may not seem like it, but you have the inner strength to overcome this.”
- “Hard times are like storms; they pass, and we’ll see the sun again.”
- “You’ve faced adversity before, and you’ve always come out stronger.”
- “Let’s focus on solutions and take it one step at a time.”
- “I have faith in your ability to handle this, and I’m here to listen whenever you need to talk.”
Jesus teaches us resilience and encourages us to maintain hope, reminding us that He is with us every step of the way.
Here are a few more things to say to help them maintain hope when the holidays are hard.
- “I’m here for you, no matter what.”
- “You are in my thoughts and prayers during this holiday season.”
- “Lean on your faith; it can provide strength and comfort.”
- “God has a plan even in the midst of difficulties.”
- “Let’s spend time together doing something you enjoy.”
- “Remember the true meaning of Christmas and its message of hope and love.”
- “If you need someone to talk to or pray with, I’m here.”
- “It’s okay to take some time for self-care and reflection.”
- “The holiday season doesn’t have to be perfect; it’s about being with loved ones.”
- “Your church community is here to support you too.”
- “We can find joy and blessings in the small moments.”
- “Let’s create new traditions that make you feel comfortable and happy.”
- “Your faith can be a source of strength during challenging times.”
- “Even in darkness, there is a light that shines.”
- “Your presence is a gift to those who care about you.”
- “It’s okay to grieve and process your emotions.”
- “God’s love is constant, even when circumstances change.”
- “You’re not alone; I’m walking this journey with you.”
- “This season will pass, and brighter days will come.”
- “I believe in your resilience and your ability to overcome.”
I wish I had heard so many of these things during the hardest part of my life.
Be sure to focus on the Thames. Not the specific words. As you can tell, I gave you variations of some of the ones I shared earlier. It’s because I feel they’ll bring comfort. At the very least, it will give you ideas to inspire you to know what to say to your sweet friend when the holidays are hard on them.
Get them around other Christian women.
Hanging out with other Christian ladies when you or your friend is feeling low can give you a major boost and loads of support.
Firstly, women often share similar values, beliefs, and faith experiences in women’s ministry, creating an instant sense of connection and understanding.
Who knows. Someone there may be going through exactly what your friend is going through and can offer encouragement.
When you’re facing challenges or feeling low, being in the company of those who share your faith can provide a comforting reassurance that you’re not alone in your struggles. Their empathy and compassion, rooted in a common faith, can help alleviate feelings of isolation and despair.
Moreover, Christian women often bring a sense of hope and positivity to their interactions. They can offer words of encouragement, reminding you of God’s love and promises even in difficult times.
Through prayer and shared faith, women’s ministry can help lift your friend’s spirits and remind her of the strength and resilience that come from our Christian faith.
Additionally, these connections can provide practical help and resources when needed, whether through offering assistance with daily tasks, a listening ear, or guidance based on their own experiences.
Being around other Christian women during tough times can create a nurturing, uplifting environment that reinforces faith and helps you AND your friend navigate life’s challenges with greater resilience and hope. Get her around some other ladies when the holidays are hard.
Get her in the Word
In times of doubt or uncertainty, we can find comfort in the words of Jesus and His promise to never leave us alone.
Encouraging her to read the Bible can be done in a sensitive and supportive way when the holidays are hard for your friend.
Here are some ways to friends inspired me to turn to my Word in the hard times. I’ll frame them directly to what you can do:
- Express Your Own Experience: Share how reading the Bible has positively impacted your life. Talk about any personal growth, inspiration, or comfort you’ve found through scripture. Say something like, “I know when the holidays are hard for me, I go to Psalms. It really helps.”
- Highlight the Wisdom and Guidance: Emphasize that the Bible offers valuable guidance for life’s challenges and questions. Mention specific passages or stories that you find particularly insightful or relevant. Tell her, “I know you’re going through _________________, but I’m sure you can find someone who went through something similar in the Bible and find some comfort.”
- Offer to Read Together: Suggest reading a specific verse, chapter, or book together. This can make the experience more engaging and foster discussion.
- Respect Their Pace: Be understanding and patient, and let her know that there’s no pressure to read the Bible immediately. Even reading small portions can be meaningful and bring comfort when the holidays are hard.
Remember that everyone’s spiritual journey is unique, and respecting their choices and beliefs is essential, even if they don’t choose to read the Bible immediately or at all.
His love will sustain us and give us strength to face any challenge, including bad holidays.
Christian Woman, in all our trials and tribulations, let us always remember that Jesus is on the throne, and through Him, we – and our friend – can find peace and serenity.
So keep your mind on things praiseworthy. Adjust your expectations and try to stay positive.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
– Romans 8:18
GodsyGirl is a Christian lifestyle blog featuring Christian faith articles written by an ordinary Christian woman blogger, Christian inspirational podcaster, and a pastor’s wife. GodsyGirl is about Christian inspiration and living your fullest life as a fabulous Christian woman. Explore GodsyGirl.com to find articles on everything from daily Christian living to hair, makeup, and living your absolute best life!