I miss the days when I was young and got so excited about Father Christmas bringing presents. Everything seems distinctly less exciting now that I am an adult. I know a lot of people enjoy Christmas and good for them. I wouldn’t want to wish away joy for anyone but for me, Christmas isn’t my favourite time of year and here’s why:
1) There is so much pressure to be happy and have a good time. A kind of ‘forced happiness’ for many. If you aren’t happy, Christmas can be a negative reminder of how unhappy you really are.
2) For those people who are lonely or in a bad place, Christmas heightens this sense of loneliness and isolation. This Christmas is going to be especially hard because the Covid pandemic has created a lot of chaos in the world. People are struggling financially, families aren’t allowed to be together and those that are might be arguing over the correct procedures to keep themselves and other safe from getting ill.
3) Many people spend Christmas alone, reminding them how no one is really there for them. In fact, I see more clients in the run-up to Christmas than at any other time of the year (and immediately after – seems too much time together causes divorce and marital discord). I do appreciate it though when I hear of people being kind and opening their homes up to others. Of course, this year may be more difficult. It’s crazy to think of how much loneliness exists in the world when there are SO many people on the planet. Something has definitely gone wrong there!
4) The media hype paints a false picture of joy and happiness, one that few of us experience in reality. We are sold a happy version of real-life and this disparity between the ideal and real-life is another reason that people’s mental health can suffer, especially over festive periods. We begin to compare the ideal to what we have and feel deprived. The reality is that no one has a perfect Christmas even if they try to convince you of it on social media.
5) Many experience a sense of dread at having to spend time with relatives that they do not truly feel close to. There is this sense of having to put on a show because it’s Christmas. A lot of fakery exists in order to keep up pretences.
6) Gift giving among family members can be excessive, while the many who have nothing remain with nothing. I would love it if Christmas involved compulsory volunteering of some sort. Imagine a world where we all used to Christmas to help others out rather than ourselves. Call me an idealist but I am all for Christmas if it encourages selflessness.
I know I am coming across as a pessimistic old fart but I see beneath the manic spending, overindulging and superficial schmoozing that reaches new heights over this time of the year. Oh – and spare a thought for the poor hapless turkeys!
I will say that I enjoy the Christmas lights and I am fond of the idea that people focus on people rather than their bank balances or their next business deal. We have lost our way in some respects…I would like to call this time of the year “Kindmas”. A time to help, a time to reflect on the year that’s been, what we have learned and how we can improve the next year.
PS. Merry Christmas!!
Photo by Lel4nd
Photo by kevin dooley