Christmas, over the last century has morphed into this “magical” holiday where we are all supposed to be with family, being super happy, with an abundance of food and presents. Christmas films perpetuate this idealistic world of happy endings and miracles. The pressure for perfect in immense! (No wonder it’s the time of year with the highest suicide rates in the Western world.) Yet there is so much in favour of striving for an imperfect Christmas.
This year I have seriously struggled to find the Christmas spirit, the dark, grey days took over; the endless tasks weighed me down and the dropped balls I have been trying, and spectacularly failing, to juggle have been creating a right mess in my life… All the while I was putting on a happy face and trying not to impact the children (albeit slightly impossible in the midst of a DIY battle zone.)
Christmas has become so commercial, it really has lost a lot of its sparkle (for me, at least). For the kids’ sake I have to keep up the happy face and make magic.
There is so much consumerist pressure around Christmas that I struggle to conjure up that magic to ….
- Have the perfect, decadent Christmas dinner;
- Have the sparkling, trendy Christmas tree;
- Have a home decorated to perfection, suitable for to be on the cover of the magazines;
- Have an overflowing hoard of presents under that prefect Christmas tree.
…as if all of this will make for a happy, loving family, all cheerful and relishing in each other’s company!
This is all a little too much to live up to!
We put so much pressure on these couple of days and expect this dark time of year-, when everyone is a little bit tired, vitamin deprived, fending off different lurgies- to be filled with cheer, just because it is Christmas.
PLEASE, don’t let this holiday and its pressures push you over the brink!
…especially a financial brink!
Where has the essence of Christmas gone?
The original message of New Hope- with the birth of the Christian Saviour, the turn of the year from the darkest day to light increasing again- has been twisted and exaggerated.
Of course there are messages sprinkled in the media about the less fortunate and we pause and think for a moment… But do we, and should we, just step back, stop in our tracks and actually start rejecting this craze that Christmas has become?
Seriously, the countdown starts from the moment the summer holidays are over, Christmas trees start appearing from mid-October in shops and airports.
Is it really necessary?
Well, I’m putting my foot down for me and my family and saying enough is enough!
Preparing for an imperfect Christmas
Our Christmas will not be perfect, arguments will happen, as they do on any other day. In fact, I expect more arguments to happen as we are all home, with no specific plans. Not our usual state of being. Of course we will spot the flaws we don’ usually have the time to notice in those around… That’s true for almost any holiday.
We are with family who live different lives to us, they do things differently, they have different world views. Disagreements are natural!
It’s totally ok to have a not-so-perfect Christmas.
In fact, why not strive for it…
Give fewer presents
Save the planet and give fewer things people don’t really want.
Perhaps try to give experiences to people- things you know they would love to do, but are reluctant to spend the money on themselves.
Here’s an inspirational list of 15 Experience Gifts to give
Our presents present quadrant for the kids is:
- Something they need (this is usually clothes)
- Something they want (one thing they wrote on their wishlist, which St Nicolas took on the 6th of December)
- Something to read (for the past years I’ve chosen Lonely Planet books, because I’ve found them so inspirational)
- Something to do (an expereince)
Step away from the traditional Christmas Dinner
Do we really need all the excesses? And the stress that goes with preparing the perfect meal? Have the perfect traditional Christmas meal at a pub or a restaurant and serve something different, something everyone loves for your Christmas meal.
Over the years, I’ve insisted on our traditional meals of fish soup and schnitzels on Christmas Eve, our main Christmas family meal, whichever side of the family we were with… This year, I’m stepping away from the kitchen and letting my mother-in-law make a simple meal.
Instead of staying in and getting on each other’s nerves, why not go for walks and do something different? The fresh air will save hours of arguments.
Mix up the family dynamics
Do you have friends or neighbours who would be alone in this festive period? Invite them over. They might feel super awkward being the odd one out at a family event, but they will certainly add a sparkle to your days and may also help people show restraint on family dramatics.
And whatever you do, avoid politics!
Brexit, Trump, Migration are sure to rub people’s backs up with such differing views even within families. Gretta gives some great tips for avoiding the confrontations within the family over this divide. Read her article on How to have a Brexit-free Christmas.