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Relief from a blue Christmas

Christmas not a happy time for everyone


Christmas in Whistler can be a stressful time for many, like the far-from-home seasonal workers. They may be surrounded by new-found friends and co-workers but missing the holiday traditions with which they grew up.

For those who may find the holiday season a tough time of year, several churches in Vancouver offer a Blue Christmas service. Canadian Memorial United Church offers a blue service for “those who are weighed down by the unrealistic expectations of the season.” Located at West 15 th and Burrard in Vancouver, the one-hour service this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. includes prayers, meditation, music and candle-lighting, followed by refreshments.

Originally designed for people grieving a death, it now includes those who have suffered any kind of loss or are just overwhelmed by holidays, a church spokesperson said.

Mount Seymour United Church in North Vancouver will also provide an It’s Hard to Be Merry service on Monday, Dec. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Eight Anglican churches in Vancouver will offer similar blue services over the next week.

Canadian Mental Health Association says Christmas can be difficult for those with few family connections or support systems. “Holiday angst hits all of us — it’s just a matter of how much and for how long it impacts our lives,” says Bev Gutray, the head of CMHA’s B.C. division, in a press release.

Statistics show mothers have the highest level of stress during the holiday and CMHA says single people fare better than married. While 40 per cent of married people report higher stress levels, only 37 per cent of single people report the same, the association says, quoting a study of 1,000 adults conducted in November of 2000 by American research firm Wirthlin Worldwide for

CMHA recommends these coping strategies for dealing with holiday angst:

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