‘Tis the season to be jolly! Or so the carols will tell you. The reality for a lot of people is very different to this. It’s a struggle that quite often starts well before the first Christmas tree is ever lit up. For many, Christmas means financial hardship, physical exhaustion and emotional distress.
For those that feel they have to give so much from so little, they can feel ashamed that they can’t afford the gifts that they want to to give. This can then lead to the people that can least afford it taking out loans and credit cards that they can never afford. For the short term joy of giving there is then the very long term burden of debt, which quite often they will still be carrying going into Christmas the following year. Giving shouldn’t hurt.
For some people with big families or a big social life they have the never ending celebrations leading up to Christmas and beyond. The families that do progressive Christmas Day, hats off to you, I don’t and certainly couldn’t keep up the pace. As age catches up on me, the thought of a quiet day at home is extremely appealing. If you have small children the strain is even greater. Just remember they are little balls of energy that don’t know how to slow down, that’s our job as adults. Make sure they have a sleep, a rest or at least quiet time throughout the Christmas period. Just a reminder, this goes for the adults as well.
The emotional strain Christmas can bring is all consuming to some. It may be caused by a loss in the family, poor physical health or mental illness. Whatever the reason treading gently is key. You must never tell someone that’s is struggling like this to just get over it or force them to be full of joy and participate. This will only alienate them as they will feel even more inadequate than normal. Be gentle and don’t push, they will enjoy the season as best they can.
You are probably thinking I’m a bit of a grinch, absolutely not. I’m just very aware of these situations as I have experienced them all. I have included some tips to help enjoy Christmas.
1. Plan ahead, don’t leave everything to the last minute.
2. If you need help, ask for it.
3. Buy throughout the year or lay by to lessen the financial strain.
4. If you don’t overindulge children with a truck load of presents when they are young, they will appreciate what they receive as they get older.
5. Look out for the elderly in your family and you neighbourhood. Make sure they are ok. Christmas is a notorious time for home break ins. Make sure you lock doors and windows when you are out and about.
6. If you have little ones ask if the family can come to you. There is nothing worse than having to drag children who just want to play with their toys from house to house.
7. Eat, drink and be merry……. I’m not going to even try to advise you to eat healthy, that would make me a total hypocrite. Christmas food is the best…….enjoy it while it lasts.
8. If you are driving please don’t drink. The Australian road toll so far this year is higher than last……..don’t drink, speed or text when driving. If you are driving long distance, stop and take a break every 2 hours at least. You could not only save your life but someone else’s.
9. Remember your pets. If you are going to be out for the day make sure they have
plenty of food and fresh water. Just because we love Christmas food doesn’t
mean they do. Be aware of what foods can make them sick or kill.
And my number 10 shouldn’t surprise anyone that follows me…………..
Be kind to yourself and everyone you come across, you have no idea how the season affects them.
Stay safe and Merry Christmas from me to you.