Number 26 – Christmas Stressmas
Are there any adults who actually genuinely enjoy Christmas? Not just the actual day itself but the whole build-up to it? It seems to me like Christmas as a fully functioning adult is just a series of deadlines mixed with money-anxiety. This year more than ever.
It’s the number of things that suddenly appear on your to-do list. The present buying, the food ordering, the food preparing, the card writing and sending. This year there’s the added peril of not necessarily being able to nip into the shops on Christmas Eve for those last-minute essentials or gifts. Everything has to be thought through in advance instead. Forget it now; miss it on Christmas Day.
As a child, Christmas was a magical day when loads of lovely goodies appeared from nowhere. Presents appeared in your stocking. Mince pies appeared during the day. Turkey with all the trimmings appeared on the table. Cards appeared on the shelves. A tree appeared to be decorated. Christmas tunes appeared on the stereo.
But, of course, none of those things did just appear by magic. There was no Santa and no elves rushing around making everything ready for Christmas. There was just Mum and Dad frantically dashing around in a mad attempt to make this one day (that we still celebrate even though most of us don’t actually believe that Jesus was the son of God) that little bit special.
Now, I haven’t got children of my own but even still I am realising just how much of an effort getting ready for Christmas is. And this year, it feels all the more important for it to be special and Christmassy. We’ve made the decision not to be with our families (despite the relaxing of the Covid rules for ‘one week only’ – like some kind of perverse limited time special offer), so there’s somehow more pressure to make the day feel like our own special Christmas.
I realise this is all sounding very ‘Bah Humbug’! And I don’t mean it to be. I just think it’s important to recognise that it has been an incredibly stressful year for all of us. So, let’s try to relax into Christmas and just enjoy having a bit of time away from the stress and anxiety. Rather than Christmas being a whole source of stress in itself.