…is to sit at the table with my parents!
How 2020 has brought a sharp focus to my wants and needs! If you are anything like me right now, Christmas is presenting as a real dilemma this year on top of all the usual interpersonal issues that occur during the festive season. If you are Mrs Claus and find every year to be a glorious celebration of all this joyful and sparkly, read no further, I am about to go full Grinch.
My husband and I have our worst arguments at Christmas. That’s a fact. We are out of the routines that sustain our mental health and family life, this year even more so. The time apart that helps us to be together has been pretty non-existent, as hobbies have been put on hold and childcare limited. Throw alcohol, buckets of sugar and sleepless kids into the mix and it’s bound to end badly.
So, what do you do when you just want to have a “normal” Christmas this year, even though that is looking precarious and full of relationship pitfalls with loved ones who may or may not feel safe to meet up?
This is the part when you take a realistic look at what you can do to make this Christmas workable and dump the rest at the door of “only in the movies”. What are the essential ingredients to make the tricky few days run as smoothly as possible for you and your family? Are there any usual routines that you feel obliged to do that you can just chuck for this year in recognition of feeling run down or just not in the mood?
I haven’t sent many cards this year because all the people who didn’t receive one will understand and if they don’t, then we don’t have the relationship I thought we did. Let’s face it who is going to even notice. You might have experienced redundancy or furlough this year and just not have the resources available that you did last year. It’s ok to not buy those extra presents and suggest spending time together on a walk or day trip when this is over might be better.
It’s been a tough, tough year. You may have known significant loss. You may have seen dreams end or be postponed. Pretending you are up for a merry Christmas is not going to help anyone if you really aren’t. Slapping a smile on and hoping to make one day of this bloody awful year perfect is just not healthy and will lead to enormous pressure under which you’ll blow. It’s just a day.
The kids, if you have any, will love the presents and be entirely preoccupied. The grown-ups will understand if you’re not the life and soul of the party. Your support network, those you love, will be feeling similar. And if you are Mrs Claus and brimming with excitement but your friend, sister or daughter is just not feeling it… please for the love of God, don’t try and force them to be ho, ho, hoing their way through ‘til 2021.
Whether you believe the Christmas story, have a faith or no faith, we can all take a moment to take something from the baby born to nothing in a world with little hope. We can understand the power of belief and the incredible possibilities of humanity when we come together. I know you’ll think I’m going all rose-tinted glasses here but, don’t panic! As I’ve said I’m all for acknowledging when it’s tough but I’m also for believing it can get better.
Take a moment, take some quiet time when you can. Enjoy the sight of your kids asleep or crazy excited. Hold hands with your partner or blow zoom kisses to your parents. Remember the best of times, look through old photos together laugh and cry. Wear makeup and a new outfit if you feel like it or fluffy onesies if that’s where you’re at. Feel loved, remember to hope and be here with the best of times in the very tough times.