Christmas is an awkward time of year for me. On the one hand I feel excited, but on the other I find myself dreading the stress that it brings. More arguments seem to break out in our house and there’s more to do.
For me Christmas is about breaking up the cold, dark winter period. I think I get a little bit of seasonal depression, but it gives me something to look forward to and the decorations seem to give the house a cosier feel. I also see it as a time for some guilt free relaxation, while also getting to spend some time with the people that I love most in the world. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to relax or get in the festive mood when there is so much tension in the air.
The main worry for me each year is how much it’s going to cost me to buy presents for everybody. I actually prefer to only exchange gifts with my partner and immediate family, because it costs less and you’re getting things that you actually want. I only give out Christmas cards to my partner and immediate family too. That might sound a little Scrooge like, but I’d rather people saved money to treat themselves with instead of exchanging cards and gift sets that neither of us really want or need.
It seems to me like one of the major issues with Christmas is expectation. It’s probably the one time of the year where we feel like others expect more from us than usual, or even from ourselves. If we don’t get everything perfect then Christmas is ruined, or is it? I’ve actually found that people make up their own minds about what my expectations are, even though I’m always telling them that I’m not actually bothered if things aren’t perfect. I imagine that it’s different if you have children, but amongst adults I’ll just explain why something isn’t right – if for example a gift doesn’t arrive in time. If anybody is going to be unforgiving of me for that then I probably don’t want to have that person in my life anyway. In fact I once fell out with a friend because she had complained to everyone that I hadn’t spent enough on her. There are also those people that like to spend a ridiculous amount, making you feel awkward if you don’t do the same.
I’m not one for tradition either, as it seems to me that it only adds to the pressure of having to make things a certain way. If you’d enjoy it more another way, then why not be different? My parents are having Italian for their Christmas meal this year. I’m not a fan of Christmas food and would be happier to have something simpler. I actually find it a huge struggle to get through all those meals because I’m not a big eater and it can make me feel a little unwell the next day.
For me personally, I don’t really mind if the decorations are not to perfection, if the food isn’t up to scratch or if the presents are not all neatly wrapped, but I certainty do not look forward to having to be subject to bad tempers and awkwardness. To me it’s the constant rush and stress that can waylay my own festivity. I think that when you’re piled under you have to pause and ask yourself what is really important. Prioritize the tasks and be willing to drop a few off if time just won’t allow for it. Give others the chance to show understanding if things don’t go according to plan. We may be bombarded with imagery of the perfect Christmas, but we still have a choice on how we would like to celebrate it.