Doing the “Holiday Party” Circuit When You’re Not in the Mood

He probably didn’t feel like wearing this outfit…

Is your calendar as crazy as mine is this week? We’ve got a slew of “holiday parties”, many of them professional responsibilities, that involve dressing up in high heels and going out when I’d truly rather snuggle up in PJs and finally watch the finale of Survivor (and no spoilers please!)

Normally I love parties, but for some reason this year I’m less enthusiastic. The kicker came Friday night when our attendance was required at a really lovely party that involved a lot of food, a lot of drinks and a lot of dancing. Coming on the heels of the tragedy in Newtown, it felt all wrong in my heart. Yes, we did pause prior to dinner — at a corporate party — for a moment of prayer for those who had perished. That was heartfelt, and welcomed I think by all in attendance. And then the party went on as scheduled.

As I was on the dance floor with my husband trying to fake-boogie my way through “Brown Eyed Girl”, a little fit of despair kicked in. That’s unusual for me — I’m really normally a “glass is 3/4 full” type of girl. But dancing that night felt wrong, and I’m actually still, days later, not sure when it will feel right again.

So today I ask you, is going about the holiday season as scheduled right this year? Should our celebrations be tempered in solidarity with those feeling such amazing loss? Or does that not help anyone?

I have no answers for this one, but welcome yours.

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

  • Catholic @BarbaraKB (@CatholicMeme)

    (up on soap box) I had similar thoughts, Lisa, but then decided: if I let this affect my relationships, evil had won! So, I’ve decided to do less *stuff* around the house (decorating, baking, wrapping) & do more outside. I actually said “yes” to an event I would normally say “no” to because I do not want this “funk” to ruin a wonderful, social time of year! Yes, we need to mourn for this great loss but I don’t think those children or teachers want us to not celebrate the joy of Christmas with others. (down off soap box) -BarbaraKB

  • lisahendey

    Barbara I love what you’ve shared here – it’s honestly a real blessing to me. Get on your soap box any time here!

  • Barb S

    My first thought was “introvert problems” because I don’t want to do the holiday party circuit ANY year. ;) But that’s not really what we’re talking about.
    It doesn’t help anyone in any way if we give up the celebration of a holiday because of a tragedy.
    My husband’s family is big on celebrating Christmas Eve, and we even did it the year the family patriarch passed away ON Christmas Eve. We laughed together, cried together, ate together, and consoled each other with our shared memories.
    Mourning, like rejoicing, sometimes works better in groups.
    What is needed, outside of the party setting, is opportunity to process, to pray, and to honor those whose lives were cut short that day.

    • lisahendey

      Barb, thank you for sharing this perspective… it really makes good sense.

  • Sarah

    I find this time of year is always hard for me due to seasonal affective disorder and Friday’s tragedy in CT has made it even harder. This year, I’m saying no to things. I’m also an introvert & HSP which makes constant partying and socializing very draining. Personally, I think we all should be allowed to make our own choices about what we can and cannot do and allow ourselves to feel what we feel.

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  • Allison

    The Barbs both made points that I found compelling, too. And while I know that sorrow isn’t helping anyone, it is hard to turn it off….even “fake it to make it.” Knowing how those families are suffering…well, I couldn’t dance either.

    Yes, I am joyful in the Lord, grateful for my blessings and like Sarah said, it’s a personal thing…grief, processing. We each process differently and can’t expect it to look exactly the way or the length of others. Surrounded by my own children, I can’t help but think of these families often….mourning with them. That’s just where I am…now. Honor your gut, Lisa and God bless you all, caring ladies!