I was going to write about the stresses of Christmas when I saw the following piece………….
With just under two weeks to go until the madness ends (or is that begins?) it’s quite likely most of us have already made plans for Christmas. But, that doesn’t mean everyone’s happy with their arrangements.
Nothing can cause stress or tension like the feelings of obligation at this time of year. Maybe you have to invite so-n-so for lunch, or feel you ought to be spending it in one place but you’d rather be elsewhere.
All I want for Christmas
While we might want an idyllic, 1950s inspired Christmas with a picture-perfect ‘normal’ family, we just have to deal with the reality of what we do have.
Besides, really there’s no such thing as ‘normal’. Families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: single parents, separated marriages, step-parents and siblings, same-sex parents and not least, extended family and in-laws.
If your parents have separated, Christmas can be a particularly hard time of year. All sorts of emotions can be brought up – loss, anxiety, guilt and even embarrassment. It’s important to remember none of it is your fault and it’s OK to experience whatever feelings you’re having. The worst thing you can do is to give yourself a hard time.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
We don’t get to choose our family and therefore generally don’t get to choose where we are and who we’re with for Christmas. But, even if the situation isn’t exactly what we wished for, it’s better to try focusing on what we do have, rather than what we don’t.
Being mindful of the present moment and not dwelling on what might have been, makes it much easier to get into the spirit of things.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Each family has its own traditions and rituals. But if things are not perfect or if something’s changed this year, it doesn’t meant you can’t carry on with the festivities.
Better yet, why not start some new traditions? Everything we think of as being a part of the occasion had to kick off at some point. You might enjoy it more than you think.
Do they know it’s Christmas?
Sometimes conflict with parents/guardians or trouble with siblings seems impossible to avoid. But no matter how bad things appear there might be ways to help manage relationships at Christmas.
Often it can be a matter of trying to improve communication so that everyone has more understanding of what the other person is feeling. Most importantly though, if your family or anything else is getting to you, it’s important to talk to someone about it. Either a friend, or different family member, or even using some of the online or telephone support that’s available.