Christmas! As Andy Williams sang It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes folks it’s the hap-happiest season of all! And in essence he’s completely right.
Christmas is generally thought of a time for being with cherished friends and family, for celebrating, for giving, receiving and over indulging. The sights and smells, the traditions, the movies, the songs can ignite positive feelings and blissful memories of years gone by.
Christmas really has the potential to be the most magical period of the year.
On the flip side, Christmas can also be a really challenging time.
Your life is already busy enough when December rolls around and BOOM – everything ramps up 100%. You’re having to socialise with people you’ve happily managed to avoid for most of the year. Financially, a second mortgage becomes exceptionally attractive. And you begin questioning whether it’s physically possible for you to cut yourself in half to keep both sides of the family satisfied on Christmas Day. Essentially, you’re just happy you’ve managed to hold on to some semblance of sanity by December 25th. No wonder people drink before 10am on Christmas morning (just me?)
And all this before we even contemplate any feelings of grief or loss (in any form) that we may be dealing with at Christmas.
But before we all get our tinsel in a tangle…
I wanted to remind you of the importance of your well-being. You see, just because it’s the time of year with the pull and demand of so many additional things, you shouldn’t neglect yourself.
In fact your well being should be even more paramount because we often feel things more at Christmas. That in itself has the potential to be either quite damaging or quite up-lifting. It’s essential to aim for up-lifting, even when circumstances are challenging.
Please allow me to share my own little Christmas story with you…
I have been in love with Christmas for as long as I can remember. It truly is my most favourite time of the year. I really couldn’t imagine a Christmas without all the bells and whistles. Then one year my mum passed away and everything I held dear about Christmas lost it’s significance in an instant.
That year it all just felt hollow. I knew in my heart I wasn’t able to celebrate and go through the regular Christmas motions. I didn’t have children at the time, so it was possible for me to disappear. My husband kindly agreed to skip a Christmas and we boarded a plane headed for some Spanish sun.
We spent Christmas Day on a deserted beach, eating ham sandwiches and drinking Coca Colas. There wasn’t a piece of tinsel, a roast turkey or a Christmas present in sight only the sun’s rays glistening on the sea. We just sat together, peacefully chatting and enjoying each other’s company.
It wasn’t depressing or wallowing it was actually quite freeing. Sitting on that beach, I felt as calm and as happy as I could possibly be at that point in my life. Ironically, we both still claim this was one of the nicest Christmases we have ever had.
I know this isn’t possible for everybody and sometimes you do just have to put a brave face on things for the sake of your children or other loved ones, but my point here is this:
The best version of Christmas occurs not necessarily in the way you expect it to.
With this is mind, allow yourself a Christmas that (as much as it possibly can) sits well within you.
Did you know it’s actually OK to say no? To not get yourself into debt? To not turn your regular introverted self into a massive Christmas extrovert? To not ignore your grief or tough circumstances?
But equally it’s OK to use Christmas as a method of escape, to forget the everyday, to celebrate and be thankful for all that is good – whatever works for you.
Stay true to your values. Avoid placing unrealistic expectations on yourself or on others. Be open, reasonable and communicate with those around you. Most importantly don’t forget to breathe and take time to appreciate all the wonderful things occurring around you.
And if you’re faced with indecision, ask yourself these three important questions:
– Is this reasonable?
– Will the benefits outweigh any cost (both financially and/or emotionally)?
– Will this ultimately make me happier?
Apply this to everything that’s asked of you or you’ve asked of yourself this holiday season.
Whether you choose to turn the dial down on Christmas this year or go at with full festive enthusiasm…
I wish you all a happier Christmas!
If you find yourself in distress this Christmas and need extra support which may not be available to you through friends or family, organisations such as The Samaritans are on hand to help.
Here are more ways to help you on your way to a happier Christmas:
One of my favourite traditions is drinking mulled wine on Christmas Eve whilst watching The Polar Express movie cuddled up with my family! What’s your most treasured Christmas memory? Any traditions that you always like to uphold? What are your plans for a Happier Christmas this year? Get in touch by leaving a comment in the box below – I always love to hear from you.