By the time Christmas rolls around, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you’re over it. It seems like the warm up to the festive season starts earlier each year, and come mid November, some would gladly see the back of what hasn’t even officially kicked off.
What can be especially annoying is the emphasis on how to do it the ‘right’ way, or what traditions need to be upheld in order to truly be in the spirit. There can be an overwhelming pressure to tick all the right boxes even if there are elements that you don’t necessarily enjoy. But truth be told, Christmas needn’t be ‘Christmassy’ to be worthy. It can be whatever you want or need it to be.
We’re bombarded with suggestions of what would make the perfect gift for loved ones pretty much as soon as the clocks go back. Christmas is one of the most commercialised holidays of the year, and sometimes the focus on ‘stuff’ puts many under pressure to spend outside of their means. But you don’t have to bow to that pressure, as hard as it may be resist.
It could be that you’re strapped for cash, or that even deciding what to buy people stresses you out too much. Whatever the reason, not being into gifts at Christmas doesn’t make you a horrible person. It could be the time of year you choose to make more charitable donations, or even volunteer your time to help those less fortunate. The act of giving at Christmas needn’t be restricted to things that require unwrapping.
What you eat
Whether it’s a lasagna, a curry or beans on toast, you should feel free to eat whatever you fancy at Christmas. Sure, turkey with all the trimmings is the traditional choice, but there’s nothing to say you have to stick to it.
Your Christmas meal can be anything that feels like a treat to you. It may not align with what others choose to eat, but you shouldn’t feel obliged to justify your personal choices or your palette. Food is made to be enjoyed, so whatever gets your lips smacking the most, should be what adorns your plate.
How you spend your time
You can be someone that doesn’t like to party in the conventional sense of the word for most of the year without much bother. But come Christmas, you’re accused of being boring and not ‘getting into the spirit’. If you like to keep social engagements low key and perhaps get a little anxious in big groups or noisy places, the festive season isn’t going to magic those feelings away. There is a tendency to make celebrations bigger and bolder for the holidays, but if it’s really not your bag, don’t feel like you have to force yourself into it.
No matter how small, a celebration is considered just that, because of how it makes you feel. What celebrating means to you is not for anyone else to define.
This isn’t an anti-Christmas post. It is simply an acknowledgement of the fact that people like to do things differently, and should be given the space to get what they need out of the festive season.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving Christmas gifts, but some may be more into it for birthdays. Eating turkey and partying is no crime. But neither is wanting to do the things that make you happy the most, even if they don’t necessarily fit in with what some label as the ‘norm’.
Of course, being part of wider celebrations with family and friends can be joyous. Even if you don’t fully enjoy all festivities taking place, you don’t want to isolate yourself either. Just don’t be afraid to carve out a little bit of time, just for you, to define what Christmas means on your own terms.
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