Christmas is almost here! Layer up the tinsel, sprinkle the sparkle, pile up the scrummy food, drink too many G&T’s, waft the cinammon sticks and spread that festive cheer. What’s not to love about Christmas? It’s that time of year that makes us all warm and gooey, generally bringing out the best in us, but it can also stir up sadness, stress, anxiety and a whole host of guilt tripping. We all know what it feels like to have the discussion about who’s doing what for Christmas. Christmas is meant to be about family and friends all coming together to celebrate all things lovely but sometimes that conversation about who you spend it with or where, can make a supposedly peaceful time an awkward or upsetting one.
You can’t please everyone – so don’t try
Traditions are great and totally welcome, especially at Christmas, whether it’s spending every year at your rents, wearing your elf jumper for the Christmas meal or Nana’s bacon sprinkled sprouts, it’s all cool, but is it really a crime to want to shake it up one year and do something different, or even start some new traditions of your own? No it’s not at all.
Despite this seeming a simple answer, lots of us, me included, have a tendancy to ignore this and try to people please everyone, ignoring what we would actually quite like to do for a change. This isn’t really in keeping with the merry old spirit of Christmas now is it? Of course compromises have to be made, but sometimes when things change and evolve in your life, your needs and wishes can change too.
Maybe you’re a couple who’ve never actually spent a Christmas together because each of you goes to their parents every year, perhaps this year you want it to be just you two but can’t bear to break it to your families? Maybe you’ve recently become a new parent and want to start some of your own christmas traditions with your new addition and partner, some of them not actually involving other family members? Perhaps you want to host Christmas at yours this year but some family members aren’t willing to have the usual routine changed? Whatever the dilemna it doesn’t have to be a big guilt trip and you can have your Christmas the way you are imaging it. It just takes some courage, belief and some carefully chosen words.
How do you explain to loved ones?
Explaining to the loved ones in question that you really want to spend Christmas a certain way this year doesn’t have to end in a fall out. If they really love you, they will understand your wishes are just as important as theirs and a compromise can be made. Maybe another date in the lead up to, or closely after Christmas, can become a second mini Christmas Day which you use to celebrate with whoever you choose to, leaving Christmas Day free to be exactly how you planned it this time. Two Christmas Dinners is a big win!
I know it’s not always that simple and stubborn family members can stay firm in their beliefs – trust me I’ve been there with the mother- in- law and yes it was a mini hell – but at the end of the day it’s not actually that big a deal and your enjoyment of it is just as important as anyone else’s. As long as the point has been put across calmly and positively you don’t have to accept the guilt and worry which spoils an otherwise happy time.
Remember that this is some much needed quality time off from work, life’s little stresses and daily routines, and is meant to be about sharing the love and positivity, so to allow yourself to be made to feel shit or selfish isn’t ok. Equally to do this to someone else if you are the one with the grievance isn’t fair. Acceptance is by far the gentler way of handling it and keeping the focus on being positive .Whatever it is,understanding as best you can is super important.
Not every year will work out as previous Christmases because as we all know life changes and can throw new things at us all the time – people move home, some far away from family so they can’t be with them on the day, you might have to work boxing day so staying put at yours is easier, a relative might be getting over something big, needing you around more than before, so having that cosy couples Christmas for two might have to be kept on hold till next year. You may be having your first Christmas without family and it might be hard to get your head around. Try to see the changes this year as an exciting one rather than as a loss, and a chance to be as creative as possible and try out plenty of new ideas – Pinterest is great for fresh inspiration – and most of all try and enjoy your day because you deserve to.
Why doing Christmas your way is so important
I now have two little ones and therefore my own family and yes my idea of Christmas has actually changed. For us it’s about our little unit now and making new memories and creating our own traditions which we can look back on together one day when they are older. My other family members are still very important to me but I try to allow myself to not feel guilty about putting my immediate family first. There will be many big family Christmases to come where we are all together on the day which will be very special but it’s ok for me to cherish these first few Christmases with my children and not feel bad about it being about us.
Christmas Eve is actually a bigger day for me than Christmas Day now, because it’s the build up and magic made during the day for our wee ones that makes it extra special not just for them but for me too. My partner and I still have our own traditions as a couple we like to keep but we’ve also begun making new ones a family. And it feels so lovely to do I can tell you.
However you spend it make this Christmas your happiest one yet!
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