The Five Stages of Holiday Grief

Dear New Yorker,
Congratulations on taking the first step: recognizing that you need help. The holiday season is hard for us all, and there’s no shame in reaching out for succor. Let us help you get through it. Read on.


The holiday season seems like it was expertly designed to facilitate every aspect of full-blown depression: the shrill calls for brotherhood and goodwill to one’s fellow humans (most of whom are cruel and self-involved); the sun fleeing just as you’re finishing your lunch… and that snow that was so pretty as it fell is now three shades of dull brown on your pant leg; the smiles of school children taking in the bright lights appear as so many little shivs ready to cut you; the relentless generation of nostalgia through hidden catalysts like long-distance telephone commercials, window displays and workplace alcohol; and those fucking tragic sidewalk Santas. Wow, you really are depressed aren’t you?


In order to progress through the stages and reach ultimate wellness, you’ll need to embrace each stage to its fullest. Here are some helpful hints on how to do just that.

Audio Therapy
Have you ever sat alone in a dimly lit room with Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs? Not only is the music deeply moving but one of the songs is taken from a prayer scrawled on the wall of a Gestapo prison by an 18-year-old Polish girl.
Academy Records, 12 W. 12th St, $7

Visual-Kinetic Stimulation
You think you have it rough? At least you’re not a downtrodden beast of burden tortured nearly to death, or a pretty young girl trapped in a sadistic relationship. Or perhaps you are. Au hasard Balthazar, Robert Bresson’s story of a donkey and its pretty owner, may destroy you.
Dec. 9, 8pm, Anthology Film, 32 Second Ave

Alimentary Supplementation
While the food is good, and it’s a fun place to be, grab a window stool at Vera Cruz on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and watch life stream past you from the L subway stop. There are beautiful people, glum people, drunk people, insufferable people — so many people. So much sadness. 195 Bedford Ave, 718-599-7994

Oral Meds
Everybody says they love dive bars. But what they mean is, ‘we really love dive bars after 6pm, when the non-hardcore alcoholics start to show up after work. What they don’t mean is the Blarney Cove, which feels like 11:30am all day long. 510 E. 14th St.

Real World Integration Exercises
We understand that the Billionaires For Bush are meant to be funny (and they are) and we know that their Dick Cheney Holiday Spectacular 2005 is sure to be an entertaining and satirical skewering of the current administration — but underneath it all remains the depressing fact that we elected Dubya twice. Sad. Dec. 16, 7pm, Galapagos, 70 North 6th St. Williamsburg

Holiday Triggers to Avoid
Handel’s Messiah at the Church of St. John the Divine is a profound and powerful experience of joy and majesty. And it’s not for you, sad sack. Dec. 10, 7:30pm, 1047 Amsterdam Ave

Signs You’re Ready to Progress to the Next Stage
So your sitting there at the Blarney Cove and an old rummy says, “Ach, we’re all going to the same place in the end,” and you say, “Ain’t it the truth brother, ain’t it the truth.” Could it be? Acceptance? Yup.


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