Christmas. Huh. Good God. What is it good for?
Sorry, that should say war, not Christmas. Oops!
But you know, there are times Christmas can feel a bit like war, with rivalries, family politics, oneupmanship, anger, grief, blood, sweat and tears.
So with only THIS MANY days till Christmas, how can you make this the Christmas of your dreams?
Christmas is a fantasy. A shiny, twinkly fantasy that tastes of Baileys and smells of mince pie.
If you like Pinterest (you do? Cool, come join me) then you'll perhaps be forgiven for getting swept up in that fantasy as you peruse mulled wine recipes and 'how to make the perfect Christmas decorations' posts.
Reds, greens, candles, cozy fires, snow... the fantasy of Christmas is certainly seductive.
The reality of Christmas is different
Real life Christmas is different. It includes:
- Family politics
- Sibling rivalry
- Money worries
- Unresolved childhood resentment
- Bereavement and loss
- ...and a partridge in a pear tree!
Christmas is also tied up in an awful lot of 'should's' - it should be happy, it should be peaceful, it should be spent with family, it should... well, you get the idea. And all those 'should's' put us under a lot of pressure to conform to an idealized version of Christmas.
But who decided what it 'should' be?
Maybe your Christmases are everything you hope they'll be. I hope they are, and if so that's brilliant, enjoy!
Maybe they are a time of tension, loneliness and boredom.
Maybe they are frankly disappointing and just leave you feeling exhausted, lethargic and worried if your credit card will get you through January?
All is not lost - you can make this Christmas the one YOU want!
Plan your Christmas - before it's planned for you!
make next Christmas your dream Christmas
Firstly, reflect on last Christmas - what were the good points? People arriving? People leaving? Did you enjoy seeing friends you haven’t seen all year?
What were the bad points? Enforced time with family? Enforced time alone? The drain on finances? Family members being critical?
Now, think about what you could do to make it the Christmas YOU would really like.
Maybe you would like to be laid on a beach, or alone with your partner, or alone completely on a day of self indulgence.
Maybe you were alone last Christmas and don’t want to be this year.
Here's the good news; you have time to make it happen.
- You want to spend it alone? Tell people NOW and give them chance to get used to it.
- You want to keep a firmer hold on the purse strings? Talk with people NOW and agree limits
- You want to be with family, but find being with them for long periods too intense and stressful? Tell them NOW that you are looking forward to seeing them, but that you will need a little 'you' time and that it's nothing personal. Give them a chance to get used to it.
- You want more help? If you are a people pleaser, you won't be used to asking for help, so start thinking of ways NOW that you can delegate tasks. People LIKE helping - after all, you do! So allow them to help you, and let them know how much difference it makes to you. You deserve a happy Christmas too!
- You don't want to be alone? Think NOW about what you can get in place so you aren't on your own. You have time to make arrangements.
Christmas is a time of traditions and expectations, so the key to making changes is give people plenty of notice and time to adjust their own expectations.
But you know, sometimes it's good to start your own traditions.
This year, start your own Christmas traditions