The Ups and Downs of a Magical Holiday Season

BY: MARK KONING

In my writing of these blog posts, I have shared stories of Christmas pleasures and spirit over the years. I believe in the beauty of Christmas magic, and I love the festive gatherings, lights, movies and mistletoe. And I could easily add the excitement of presents, the beautiful decorations, all the delicious treats and baking of cookies, Christmas songs and carols, sitting with a nice cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows in front of a cozy fireplace.

It can be all so wonderful!

But it can also have a downside.

As a survivor of brain injury forty plus years, I can tell you the fatigue and the overwhelming sensation of crowds, still hit me pretty hard.

The darkness, lack of sunlight and cold don’t help. It can become so depressing, like an added bonus to the challenges I face and feel during the other months of the year.

People can get moody and upset, and I just want quiet. I need a moment or two, or three.

And when I’m standing out in the freezing cold with the wind trying to knock me down while scraping the layer of ice off of my car window for the umpteenth time, my festive spirit starts to slip. When I finish up clearing the snow from my driveway and the plow comes along to push a portion of more snow back in, the Grinch makes his presence felt.

I stop, close my eyes, and I try to relax and breathe and take my moments.

And then it happens. The magic of the season, the magic of Christmas, and yes, the magic of Santa.

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I was out the other day and gathered with a group of folks to work at putting together packages and gathering up previously wrapped gifts. Loads of donations of hats and scarves, toiletries, turkeys and hams, food for hampers. The generosity and hard work being put into this was simply amazing!

We all loaded up our sleigh-for-the-day vehicles, adopted the name of Santa Claus for a few hours, and made deliveries to sixty plus individuals and families. Wow! The holiday spirit and magic of the season consumed me.

And this happens every year, multiple times. I am not always involved, but I read stories or hear it from others or see it on the news – different ‘Santas’ in different locations locally and around the world – helping and supporting people in need of some cheer.

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I sustained my brain injury in the month of November and I spent the holiday season in the hospital, family by my side. I have learned so much over the years from that experience. Maybe it is this experience that helps me see and believe. But then again, it could be all of those Santas as well as the love and support being given and shared.

Happy Holidays!


Mark’s passion to lend a helping hand, offer advice and give back, has developed into a moral and social responsibility with the goal of sharing, inspiring and growing, for others as well as himself. His experience as a Survivor, Caregiver, Mentor and Writer, has led to his credibility as an ABI Advocate and author of his life’s story, Challenging Barriers & Walking the Path. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Koning or go to www.markkoning.com.