Looking Forward to Christmas This Year?
So many people get swept along with the idealised image of Christmas and feel the pressure to conform, to spend money, decorate their homes, and party through the holidays, just like they see in glossy magazines and on TV advertisements.
But this puts an unfair, unrealistic view of Christmas onto those who are alone, have to work or who, don’t want, or who aren’t in a position to adhere to that image.
For those in professions like hospitality, health care and farming, Christmas is just another day, and often a busy one.
Shifts need to be covered, livestock needs to be attended to, and for many others, family might be unavailable, and it may be that Christmas is a time to be spent alone.
Let’s look at ways to have a positive Christmas this year;
Even if you’re not feeling especially festive, why not put up a pre-decorated tiny tree, a festive wreath on your front door or display your cards on the dresser. It will help you stop feeling so ‘humbug’ about it all.
Lots of people are moving away from sending greetings cards but for many people on their own, especially older people, having something friendly arrive through their letter box makes a pleasant change from bills, spam mail and charity bags.
When you’re doing your Christmas shopping why not add a few treats for yourself. Buy some of your favourite food, sort out your holiday viewing, pre-arrange a call to friends or family members.
Say ‘yes’ to the neighbour who invites you round for an early ‘glass of sherry’ and a mince pie. Or instead invite them round to yours for half-an-hour.
Manage your alcohol intake.
There’s no merit in drowning your sorrows and spending the ensuing few days feeling miserable and hung-over. Determine in advance to include some positive, more proactive activities over the holidays, like going for a walk or run.
If you’re divorced and missing your children, relax and be flexible about arrangements. Many people agree to an alternative Christmas Day lunch, where the parents entertain their children on separate days. Children often don’t mind having two Christmas meals, with all the trimmings!
Check out in advance free activities.
Money could well be tight this year, so find out times of carol services, access to parks, concerts and gallery openings. Some events may need to be booked in advance. Not everything has to be paid for and it can even be fun to visit a shopping mall and enjoy the lights and decorations over a relaxed coffee as you watch the rushing crowds push by.
If you’re entertaining at some point why not plan ahead?
Prepare some tasty comfort food, like casseroles, stews, pies and soups, things that can be prepared and frozen in advance. It’s often a relief for guests when they’re offered something wholesome and warming to eat, rather than rich over-indulgent Christmas fare, especially if you combine that with a pleasant walk first.
Share the catering if you’re spending time with others.
If everyone contributes a bottle or a dish it spreads both the cost and the pressure around. A safari supper can be fun, where people travel from house to house, enjoying a course at each other’s homes.
If you’re entertaining at home, get other people involved.
Share the load. Ask children to set the table, peel a few potatoes and praise them for their contributions. Flatter the ‘the mother-in-law’ into bringing her signature dish. There’s usually a trifle or some such that she’s super-proud of. Then you’re sharing a meal that everyone feels they’ve added value to.
Don’t get caught up in a last-minute spending frenzy; ‘just one more’,’ can’t live without’,’ just in case’ panic buying can result in spending money on things that aren’t wanted or needed. That applies to sales too! Something’s only a bargain if you actually want it!
And, if you’re on your own, remember that Christmas is just one day. It means you don’t have to eat too much rich food, watch granny fall asleep or listen to Uncle Pete’s dreadful jokes. You can please yourself, something that many others would be envious of!
Susan Leigh, Counsellor & Hypnotherapist lifestyletherapy.net