Oh for a simple Christmas with that romantic picture of a stocking (filled with an orange or two) hanging up over the fire place, mistletoe and holly, mulled wine, a present wrapped under the tree (real of course) and all is quiet, all is calm and all is peaceful on the holiest of nights. Looking forward to it already?
This is what it will be like right?
Rewind and what is today’s reality?
Well let’s look around – you don’t have to look far. We have pressure!!!!!!!!!!!
Have I enough money to buy all the very expensive presents everyone expects, not least the kids – apparently they deserve it, so must get that latest gadget/gismo before the shops have sold out! But I am still working 40 hours a week up to Christmas Eve, so when am I going to do the shopping? I will have to get on the bus/train and hit the shops on Saturday and Sunday but of course every busy mum and dad will be there before I am! Queues everywhere, feeling tired, feeling overwhelmed! Sick of people pushing and being rude! Oh no they have sold out – what now! Last year Aunty didn’t like that jumper I bought her – how ungrateful, well this year she is getting chocolates and I don’t care if she is on a diet! Food – oh boy just how much do they think we can possibly eat in two days, but better get too much in rather than not enough! Think I might leave the fresh stuff until the day before but the supermarket will be so busy!
The day has arrived but the kids have had me up stupidly early, think I am going down with a cold, husband has a hang-over – told him to take it easy Christmas Eve but as usual he wouldn’t listen and I have 10 coming for an extra special roast dinner – that’s me busy then whilst the others knock back the sparkling wine. All this before I even mention the relatives who are bound to argue and of course a certain person will always be more able to do Christmas dinner better than me! Finally collapse Christmas night – dare anyone expect me to even make them a cuppa. Oh just remembered Boxing Day to go yet when we can all start the usual arguments over what to do, what to eat, should we go and spend more money as don’t want to miss any bargains and then finally we realise how much we have actually got into debt this year.
Sound stressful? Well of course I am painting a rather bleak picture here but how much did you relate to as you read through this version of Christmas?
The true meaning of Christmas – the clue is in the title – of peace, hope and love has almost completely been forgotten.
For many the reality of Christmas is far from this ideal and our simple romantic picture. It is more likely to involve stress and anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, debt worries, loneliness, grief over absent loved ones and overindulgence. No wonder solicitors are generally busy in the New Year sorting out divorces, no wonder domestic violence figures rise, no wonder people are burnt out, no wonder counsellors and mental health workers are busy and even no wonder that suicide figures peak.
So how about returning to basics this Christmas – keeping it simple, spending less, keeping yourself well and not getting overtired and thwart, being careful who you invite to dinner, spending quality time with your loved ones, treating yourself to a few little luxuries – that spa massage sounds inviting, resisting more shops on Boxing Day, finding some ‘me time’, putting your feet up, going for a walk, watching a film, reading a book – doing more of whatever helps you to relax and makes you happy. Sounds better already!
Resist that pressure and be determined to have yourself a peaceful and loving Christmas this year!!!!!
Merry and stress-free Christmas to all my past, present and future clients!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!