Light Up the Holidays

Light Up the Holidays

Dec 10 , 2020

Who is stressed about holidays this year? Not one to fall into the stress trap this time of year, of getting cards written and mailed, shopping and wrapping and sending gifts, setting up a tree, digging out the ornaments and Santa welcome mat and all that, I generally float through the season enjoying every task- usually with the appropriate music playing in the background. But not this year.

I woke in the middle of the night last night with the stark realization that I am suffering from a profound sense of depression this year. And for no real reason. It's been hectic at the bakery and in the administrative office on multiple fronts. And I suddenly find myself longing for the quiet summer time this year, sitting in the backyard at the end of a work day and setting the days' tasks behind me, not having to rush to the airport to board a plane or navigate a strange location to get to a meeting on time. 

I am so fortunate and so grateful for my own health and that of my closest friends' and family. I know people who have lost loved ones to Covid, and I have friends who have suffered through the virus and come out the other side, not unscathed by a long shot, but still alive and able to slowly reset and live their lives again. I did lose an uncle this year, and have not been able to get back to Maine to see my family, to hug my aunt and my cousins, to scurry around from one family engagement to another, to fit in friends on the side. But relatively speaking? I am blessed- and not complaining, but musing over how this cloud crept up on me. 

None of my friends or family were arrested for protesting- though many did protest, even if not comfortable doing so in person during a pandemic. Nobody close to me was murdered this year. Despite an election season fraught with anger and divisive rhetoric, I only blocked a few people on social media who just were not able to keep their malice at bay- and was sad to do so, but had to in order to keep my mental health and dignity intact. I am blessed in this year of pain. But I am feeling the weight of it all. 

Last evening driving home from work, I passed houses and businesses that in other years have been modestly decorated at best for holidays and this year have become beacons of holiday light in a sea of beacons of holiday light, a process which began well before Thanksgiving in 2020- in fact, as soon as Halloween ended. People are reaching out for light in a particularly dark year. It's really quite a remarkable phenomenon, and one we may never see, hear, feel, smell, touch again.

As I pulled up to my house, swung my old pick up truck around at the corner to pull into my parking spot, I took in the bright blue lights on the tree on the corner.  Recently I mused to my roommate and BFF that I wonder how many more strings of lights those neighbors tug around the girth of the tree now than 5, 6 or 7 years ago when I'd walk past it this time of year. It's grown quite a bit, and for some reason this year appears particularly taller. 

Then I went inside and didn't think about it anymore. For some reason, it's just overwhelming. Maybe when I take a break between Christmas and New Years, and walk about the neighborhood, I'll feel differently. 

Next week we will have a very special tour of the holiday decorations at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City- the place I get excited to stay every year when we make our year end visit to the bakery. (We won't be there this year. We'll stay in a suite downtown where we can bring coolers and grocery bags and do our own cooking, rather than have to order out every night or venture in to a sitdown meal at a restaurant.) Please join me at 12:15 MT on Wednesday, December 9. Whatever mood you are in, if you want to speak up, well, you just listened to me, and I will be happy to reciprocate. Together we will light up the holidays!

To all who are struggling this season, my heart goes out to you, and I wish you peace.

With continued commitment,


Lisa Cox is CEO/ SVP Sales & Marketing, Gem City Fine Foods


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