Christmas time is a period we are told to look forward to. For Americans this holiday is associated with good things in life: joy, gifts, and time spent with the family. The media driven consumer culture further reinforces this belief by idealizing the picture perfect Rockwellian family.
Yet for many, the Christmas period is a far cry from Norman Rockwell's post-war American ideal of family gatherings overflowing with gifts and laughter. Rather it's a period with at least some kind of disappointment, anxiety, or even sadness, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Christmas is often accompanied by a variety of stressors, including alcohol, changed sleep rhythms, increased financial burdens, and family conflicts. Losses during the year, be it death of a loved one or economic setbacks, are experienced more acutely during this time.