Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

Hi there! I'm Kimberly Yow, a passionate journalist with a deep love for alternative rock. Combining my two passions, I've found my dream job. Join me on this exciting journey as I explore the world of journalism and rock music.

Family is an important Christmas gift to those who are struggling

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The holidays are a time when the importance of family becomes particularly evident. In a world that often moves at a fast pace, the holiday season serves as a poignant reminder to pause and reconnect with those closest to us.

Families come together to celebrate, exchange gifts and create lasting memories. The warmth during this time provides a comforting sanctuary, fostering a sense of belonging and security. Whether gathered around a festive dinner table, decorating the house with lights, or watching your favorite holiday classic, the presence of family amplifies the joy and meaning of the season. 

However, amidst the gleeful gatherings and seasonal cheer, there exists a contrasting reality for many people who find themselves grappling with loneliness, loss or personal struggles. The winter holidays, while a source of togetherness for many, can cast a shadow on others, serving as a bitter reminder of the challenges and hardships they face.

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Many of our favorite Christmas carols have heralded returning home to one’s family for Christmas, lauding the simple joys of holding loved ones near and rekindling old acquaintances. However, the reality in America is often a departure from this idyllic portrayal, as family dynamics have faltered, leaving us to grapple with the toll it takes on our overall happiness. 

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 40% of Americans say that their stress increases over the holiday season, often leading to physical ailments, depression, anxiety and substance misuse.

Even more shocking, another study indicates that among those with pre-existing mental illnesses, a staggering 64% report a deterioration in their well-being as Christmas approaches. Of course, these unsettling statistics only compound the overarching mental health crisis Americans face, with skyrocketing rates of loneliness, depression, self-harm and suicide.

In recent decades, there has been a noticeable shift in the United States away from the traditional family unit. Evolving societal norms and changing economic structures have all contributed to this transformation. Factors such as delayed marriage and a rise in single-parent households have resulted in changed household dynamics often resulting in less dependence on internal familial support and more on external sources. 

Recent polling from Pew Research shows that the public cannot even agree on what the family unit is, and 40% feel pessimistic about its future. Tragically, more Americans now point to their jobs (71%) or friends (61%) for fulfillment rather than to having kids (26%) or being married (23%). 

In a recent speech, Dr. Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation and former CEO of the Texas Public Policy, asked, “Can we really be surprised that a nation dismissing family bonds finds itself in a crisis of loneliness, isolation, addiction and mental illness?” 

When we lose sight of family, this time of year becomes simply another painful reminder of everything Christmas is supposed to be but isn’t. In giving up on the family, we are only hurting ourselves. Family is a gift, an invaluable resource, a lifeline. 
 
Even the best of friends will come and go. But family, for better or worse, is forever part of who we are. And when functioning as an unbreakable unit, a family’s love and support are incomparable in all the world. The incentive, therefore, to nurture and maintain healthy familial bonds, even through difficult times, is enormous. 

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My son Hudson and I wrote a children’s book together called “That’s What Family’s For,” to remind ourselves and others of precisely this truth. We fight for the ones we love — we endure, suffer, forgive and defend — because without them, life would be very lonely, indeed — because the reward of gathering in peace with one another to carve the turkey, open presents, sing carols and make memories is worth every bit of effort. 

Yes, the holidays can be a painful time. But they also can be a time for healing, for starting afresh with the ones that matter the most, and refocusing our eyes on the treasure that surrounds us. 

Mending relationships during the holidays requires a thoughtful approach.

Embrace the spirit of forgiveness and let go of past grievances, focusing on the present moment and the positive aspects of your family. Engage in shared activities or traditions that once brought joy, creating new memories to replace negative ones. 

Now, more than ever, America needs the family. We need to restore strong, loving, selfless families to their rightful place. And believe me, when we come together at the dining room table for Christmas dinner, it will be worth it. Family is always worth it. 

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