Monday 16 December 2013

Making Christmas bearable

Ruth writes:

Ah, Christmas. A time for giving, a time for receiving, the time when every Santa has a ball

Except, being serious for half a minute, it’s not always great for everyone. At least Mud acknowledged this, but listening to most Christmas songs you’d think Christmas was a laugh-a-minute affair, celebrated by everyone in the UK (if not the world) which every extended family spent together, living, as they do, all on the same street, possibly all in the same house, having an absolutely wonderful time.

But no. There are many people who find Christmas hard going.

Some people don’t celebrate it at all, and it must feel a bit weird and frankly a tad off-pissing to walk the aisles of supermarkets decked with CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS in bright red and green fonts if it’s not your celebration.

Here in the UK, although only about 60% of the population considers itself Christian enough to put it on a census, Christmas is ubiquitous; so much so that church campaigns focus on remembering the “true meaning” of Christmas out of fears it has become too secular. Basically, if you’re not excited about celebrating Christmas you can feel like a bit of a weirdo.

There’s a fantastic article on coping with Christmas over at The F Word, which I’d recommend everyone to go and read.

I just wanted to add my two-pence worth about an issue close to my heart: not being able to celebrate on Christmas day itself. 

If you love the idea of Christmas, but for whatever reason (you have to work, or perhaps your child or children are at their other parent’s for much of or even the whole the day, other family members or friends not living nearby and so on) there’s nothing wrong with having your Christmas celebration on another day. It doesn’t have to be on the day itself. You could opt for giving presents on St. Nicholas’ Eve/Day (though without some of the other traditions associated with gift giving then), or perhaps celebrating the winter solstice, instead. Boxing day might be good too; a more relaxing celebration with turkey butties and less pressure.

Making a big, special deal of the day or days when you can all be together, rather than being miserable on the day that you can’t, is a good option. It seems slightly silly, in fact, to try and limit Christmas to one day in a year. If you were organising a meeting, you’d give delegates a range of dates and choose the one where most people were available. You might even put on more than one meeting if there were quite a few delegates. You wouldn’t tell them there was one day, and only one day, when the meeting could be held and if they didn’t attend, it somehow made them in the wrong. Why is Christmas somehow different, just because supermarkets, television and TRADITION tells us there is only ONE day?

And of course, if you do the whole “Father Christmas” thing, it makes more sense that he spreads his workload out over a few days, rather than trying to get it all done at once. You could even tell your child/ren that FC makes an extra special trip, just for them, because they’re having Christmas on a different day (if, like me, you feel uncomfortable about telling an out-and-out lie to your child/ren, there’s some pretty good advice here on how to give them the best of both worlds when it comes to Father Christmas).

And if you are celebrating Christmas, whatever day you celebrate it on, have a look at our free (or pay what you want) collection of Christmassy songs. We promise some of them are a bit miserable.

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