Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone – Charles M. Schulz.
I’m not excited for Christmas. It is as simple as that. This year, it seems like half the people on my social media aren’t excited for the most festive time of the year. A lot has gone lately and I’m not in the mood to be merry. But, it’s okay. At least, that’s what I’m telling you and myself. It is okay to not be excited, to not want to celebrate, to put on a brave face because in reality, you want to curl up in a ball and shut the door on the world. The last time I felt like this was when I lived in Melbourne. It didn’t feel like Christmas with the blazing hot sun and the beautiful ocean lapping again golden sands. It was a beautiful place to be in, but it was more like a glorified Sunday than Christmas Day. It was the first time I hadn’t spent Christmas at home; instead, I was on the other side of the world. This year, I won’t be spending Christmas at my home up north, but my new home. It will be a wonderful day, I know it, and I will be surrounded by loved ones. Nevertheless, despite the festive lights in the streets and the hoards of shopping in my house, it feels as though Christmas is a lifetime away.
You might be feeling this way for a multitude of feelings – a change in circumstances, a loss in the family, money issues or missing home. It might not be a tangible reason itself, but something inside of you that has left a hole where the festive stars and bright lights used to be. Instead, you dread it and wish it was over in the blink of an eye.
A CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES
Things may not be the same this year. In fact, your entire world might have turned upside down. It is hard and it makes Christmas feel like a huge effort that you don’t have the energy for. It is okay to feel like that. We can’t always be on point and excited about every tiny piece of tinsel like William Ferrell in Elf. You’re allowed to slow down and take a minute to let everything sink in, allow yourself to have a cry, allow yourself that moment of is this really what Christmas is like this year? I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves to make this one day a year absolutely perfect. When something has happened to change your life completely, I’ll bet that you’re putting even more pressure on yourself to make Christmas extra perfect this year. Don’t. It zaps even more energy out of you and you’ll end up feeling worse off than you did before.
A LOSS IN THE FAMILY
Family losses are heart-breaking at any time of year, but Christmas always makes it harder. There have been two family losses in my life around the Christmas period and I can tell you that it shatters your world completely. It makes Christmas that much harder because, again, you feel like you have to put more effort into creating a happy memory instead of grieving for your loss. However you grieve – whether you shut out the world or surround yourself with your closest people – know that it is okay. You might not feel like it is, but you need to do what is right for you.
If you’ve had a tough year financially, the last thing you need to do is splurge on presents during the most expensive time of year. It is okay to rein it in if you can’t afford to buy everyone a gift that costs more than your bills. Your loved ones won’t care; at least, if they’re decent human beings, they won’t. They’ll understand, but usually it’s you, yourself, who cares much more than you should about the amount you’re spending. Have I got enough? Have I spent enough? These are the questions you’ll be asking yourself, sometimes making gift giving a tortuous burden that you don’t need. I’m writing this so that I start to believe it. Last year, I said to myself: “I’ll have a full-time job next year. I’ll be able to spoil people rotten, as much as they spoil me.” If anything, I had more money to spend on Christmas last year! Each year, you want to buy more and more and we need to remember that Christmas isn’t all about presents (as much as you love buying them and receiving them!), it is about spending time with loved ones and creating memories for all of the years to come. Some of my best memories growing up are – aside from seeing what Santa brought – going to my auntie’s house where the entire family would have Christmas dinner together (I’m talking aunties, uncles, cousins, everyone) and hearing my mum tell me about when we would go to my Nin’s for one dinner and my Grandma’s for the next. Those are the things you remember and the memories you want to pass on to future generations.
Perhaps, like me, you’re spending it away from home this year. As I said before, I will be surrounded by loved ones and I will have a fantastic day full of laughter and food and chocolate and love, but it will be different this year, and – despite my travels, moving of love of adventure – I’m not a particular fan of change. It’s something I’ve been working on for the past six months (trying and failing a lot). Regardless of the reason why you won’t be at your usual spot at the dinner table, embrace Christmas Day with a full heart. You might not be with those closest to you, but hopefully you’ll be with people who love and care for you just as much. As long as you’re surrounded by that love, you should know that you’ll make cherished memories. It will be similar to having a Christmas adventure of sorts: trying different traditions (I am very particular about my Christmas traditions), trying different foods, playing new games, talking about different topics. You might find yourself in a part of the world that celebrates Christmas completely different to you and your family, perhaps even being somewhere that doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all. Whatever you are doing on 25th December, embrace it. If you don’t have the best time, there’s always next year to revert back to your old traditions or try something new.
This entire blog post is a repetition of it’s okay. I want to express that whatever you are feeling, no matter how bad, that feeling is valid. You don’t need to be happy and cheery throughout December because that is what the world expects of you. You don’t have to go out and pretend to be living the high life when all you want to do is stick the telly on at home and lock the door. Whatever will help you get through this time of year – if you are dreading it – is valid.
Speak to loved ones. Cry. Put on your favourite outfit. Go for that drink. Stay in and turn the lights off. Always remember that you are not alone, that somebody is there to talk to – even me if you want. I know what you’re going through. If you feel like you need to talk to a stranger, somebody who is there and knows how to help, no matter the problem or the hour you need them, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – day or night.
I hope that this helps anyone who is struggling this Christmas. Remember – it’s okay.
Love, Faye xo