Christmas can be a beautiful time of year, when families come together to celebrate and enjoy delicious food. However, it is not always an easy holiday for everyone.
With many families now not as traditional as the nuclear family, Christmas can be a difficult time of travel, compromise, and logistics.
For some, Christmas is a time of socialising and putting forward the best version of yourself, when all you want to do is relax and spend time on the sofa watching movies.
For others, Christmas is a time when we can’t help but remember those that are no longer around.
So how do we make sure that we are still able to enjoy the festive season through all of this?
1. Create your own festive atmosphere
Whether you do this with loved ones or by yourself, creating your own Christmas haven can make you feel more festive. Pull together some of your favourite festive treats, whether its pigs in blankets, mince pies, or mulled wine and dig out your favourite Christmas movies, and enjoy a little movie marathon.
Perhaps you would rather find an amazing festive playlist and spend an afternoon decorating the Christmas tree with friends and family. Find your favourite festive pyjamas or your most outrageous Christmas jumper and dance around the Christmas tree!
2. Find some Festive Activities in your area
Whether its ice skating, visiting Santa, exploring a Winter Wonderland, or Christmas shopping, pick your favourite people and get to exploring! Planning your own events and excursions gives you some power and control over your festive season that you might not otherwise feel. Make the time to see the people that you love, that you might not otherwise see on Christmas day.
3. Find an ally
If having your whole extended family around you for Christmas fills you with dread, try finding an ally in your family that you can spend the time with.
In almost every family there is an overbearing uncle or a judgemental grandmother that you might want to avoid, and finding a sympathetic cousin or a sibling who is equally avoidant of them can make you feel less alone through the day.
The same can be said for social events. Not everyone is super outgoing and excited for all of the parties that surround the Christmas holidays. If you are someone that likes to shy away from the centre of attention, finding someone that you enjoy hanging out with, and that is on a similar page to you, can save the night!
I know this one is not very festive, but in the long run it can make you feel less stressed on the big day. Not everyone spends Christmas in one place anymore. Anyone with divorced parents will know that Christmas can very often be spent split between two places. Anyone with a partner will also know that Christmas can be spent driving between two places. Anyone with divorced parents and a partner with divorced parents will know that Christmas can be a logistical feat.
A little planning and control goes a long way. Knowing that you can say no to people also goes a long way. It might not be possible to split Christmas entirely equally every year. Some years you might not get around to everyone. Some years you might have to celebrate Christmas earlier with some relatives. This is okay.
Remember that Christmas does not have to be celebrated on the 25th. You can celebrate Christmas whenever you want. Try planning an early fake Christmas with some family members to relieve some of the pressure that you feel on Christmas day.
Plan when you are seeing which relatives, and let them know that you are arriving at a certain time and have to leave by a certain time. Let them know where you will be eating Christmas dinner, where you will be opening presents, and so on.
Take back the control. Don’t allow others to dictate how you spend your Christmas. Yes, there will be a little bit of give and take, but don’t allow others to take away the joy of your Christmas.
You need to enjoy your Christmas too.
The final thing that I wanted to say is that, although this blog is about finding ways to enjoy Christmas, it is okay not to feel totally festive through the Christmas holidays. Sometimes there are events and circumstances outside of our control. Sometimes it is okay to decide to skip Christmas entirely. To hang out with friends and have a non-Christmas Christmas day. To work through the Christmas holidays.
Just because the world says that you have to be festive on Christmas day, doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself to feel something that you just aren’t feeling.
All you can do is try your best to put yourself in a festive mood, and if you really aren’t feeling it, then know that it is okay.
As always, if you would like to book an initial counselling session with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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