We all know the drill at this time of year. We’re bombarded with adverts about the latest gizmos and gadgets to buy, not to mention articles on how to host the best ever Christmas dinner for the family.
There’s a lot of pressure for people to be happy, and to spend however much money it takes to make other people happy. We’re not trying to be a pair of grumps, but the fact is not everyone enjoys Christmas and we’re going to explain why.
“Christmas is a time for family”
It’s true that Christmas is a good time for the family to get together and spend time with one another.
However, there are many people who have lost loved-ones and there’s the added pressure to socialise whilst trying to deal with their grief. Even if these loved-ones have been gone for some years, Christmas time may continue to trigger strong emotions. Some people may even have no family around them at all.
Others may not want to spend time with the family they’ve got for various reasons. There may be those who do see their family and really struggle, but to not see them would cause more conflict.
Families are complex, and we’re 99.9% sure that no families are without some sort of difficulties. Therefore, don’t assume that everyone wants to see their family at this time of year and that it might actually be a sensitive issue for some.
“Christmas is a time for giving”
There’s a huge amount of pressure on people when it comes to buying presents at Christmas time. It might be on the parents whose children want the latest gadgets. Perhaps someone thinks if they spend more money on their spouse this will show the extent of their love for them.
Retailers are more than happy for people to spend their hard-earned money in their stores. They’re not interested in the quality of our relationships; they want to make profits!
However, we don’t need to buy into all this hype (no pun intended). We can choose to let go of the pressure of gift-giving and give to each other in more meaningful ways. Volunteering, donating money, clothing, or food to charity are all great ways to give more meaningfully.
Getting friends and family involved in such activities can help to spread the message that there are more enriching ways to give to others, other than focusing on exchanging material possessions.
“Christmas is a time for socialising”
Some people might love the obligatory work Christmas party, or their friends’ annual festive outing to a pub or restaurant. However, for others these social occasions can fill them with dread.
Similar to the expectations of getting together with family, there tends to be pressure on people to attend social gatherings. It’s almost expected that everyone must want to go out to let their hair down.
The fact is that there are people who are just not into doing this. Perhaps they suffer with social anxiety, where attending such occasions proves extremely difficult, or maybe they just prefer to spend a quiet evening indoors.
Whatever the reason, it’s important not to put pressure on those who may choose not to do what we expect at this time of year. No one has to do what others are doing; they can do what feels right for them, whatever that might be 🙂
It’s “the most wonderful time of the year”
The fact is, that Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year for many people. Christmas may evoke a lot of negative emotions such as sadness, loneliness, guilt, and/or regret.
It’s important that we don’t judge people who we think aren’t getting into the “Christmas spirit”. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel at any time of the year and Christmas is no different, whatever the adverts might have us think.
If you know someone who’s struggling perhaps ask if they’d like some support. It might be that they decline – perhaps they need time alone for reflection – but at least they know you’re there if they want to talk at any point.
Peace, love, and understanding
The message we’re trying to give here is, let’s try to understand this from both perspectives.
For those who really struggle around Christmas time do what you need to do to look after yourselves. Don’t feel that you need to bow to the pressure of what you think you ‘should’ do in order to fit in. Christmas means different things to different people.
Equally though, we wouldn’t recommend shutting yourself away for prolonged periods as that can often make things seem worse. Get support from others if you’re struggling. Don’t suffer alone and try not to feel as though you’re a burden if you admit to others that you’re finding things hard. The people who truly care will support you.
For those people out there who do enjoy Christmas, get out there and enjoy the festive season. See friends/family if you want to. Go out for food, dance the night away at the work’s Christmas do, and clink those champagne glasses!
However, also bear in mind that other people might not want to do these things, and that’s okay. And, if someone does need to talk about why they’re struggling, give them some of your time and a listening ear. That might be the best present they receive this Christmas 🙂