Another 11 months and it goes so quickly! Christmas in looming large and, if the heading of this article appeals to you, it is likely that the very idea of Christmas is causing your blood pressure to rise.
We are brainwashed by advertising and social media into making it an epic event, enough to create envy and/or admiration from people you love, people you don’t and people you don’t even know. (Social media has a lot to answer for). But Christmas is not a competition. Thinking it so takes out every ounce of joy. It can make you stressed, resentful and financially compromised.
- Remember it is a time for connection, not a time for competition.
- Avoid financial hardship by capping the amount you spend and who you buy for. Tell others you only want a token present, their presence is much more important. Or, better still, do a secret Santa. If you are interested in thinking about how much/little to spend and why, Martin Lewis has an excellent and compelling YouTube video on banning unnecessary Christmas presents. Last Christmas, my friends and I were discussing whether we will buy each other gifts as usual and decided that we would instead go to a lovely restaurant, spend several happy hours over a meal but we would do a Secret Santa on who paid for whose meal: that way, we got a treat and we treated the others. It was silly, fun and much better than finding something they probably don’t want or need. Santa’s Secret Keeper app did the hard work for us.
- About presence, make sure you are present. You can’t properly connect with others if your mind is elsewhere. Leave the office behind you, along with any worries, and focus on the moment.
- If you are hosting, get others to help. Martyrdom is not conducive to a festive spirit. Set the mood with some festive music, and have everyone muck in. Anyone who refuses get a festive forfeit. I like to think that it is the season of goodwill but it doesn’t all have to come from you. We are going out for lunch. Expensive but no Christmas food shopping and no washing up! Result!
- We tend to buy more food than it is possible to eat in a whole week of Christmasses so keep it reasonable. Pointless stuffing yourself, busting your wallet and your waistline and then spending the next three months trying to lose the weight you put on and rectifying your ailing bank balance. Be moderate. You’ll enjoy yourself just as well and be more likely to stay awake to enjoy the day too!
Christmas isn’t something to survive but something to enjoy. It has become far too commercial, far to competitive so that the joy has come out of it. Put they joy back in and keep it simple.
You might want to read my article on what would make this a happy Christmas for you.
If it all gets too much, you know where to come to offload and feel calmer and get renewed perspectrive and motivation for the New Year. In fact, it might be the perfect Christmas gift to yourself that lasts and lasts and lasts.
In the meantime, wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas.
(C) Tricia Woolfrey