Christmas spoils or spoilt Christmas?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Angela Tilson Ad.Dip, CP.Dip, Hyp.Dip. Stress & Anxiety specialist
8th December, 20140 Comments
Are you the sort who really enjoys Christmas? If so please don’t go away - there are numerous people who want to learn from you. If you are the person who finds Christmas a difficult time this article is for you - it will show you, you are far from alone.
Are you ready for Christmas yet? How do you answer? If you say “Yes, I had my tree up from the first of December with all the presents wrapped underneath, I have made a homemade Christmas cake and pudding, sent all my cards and now I can’t wait for the family to come round”. How many people do you think are really impressed? I would say there are those so impressed they would be in awe because they would love it to be the same for them. Then there are those who would even get narked because, again, they want for it to be the same for them. Then there would be those who say, “yes, me too.” but I would say this group is the minority and here’s why – have you ever seen the shops in the last two days before Christmas?
In the world of marketing, it has long been known that the product alone will not increase sales; it’s presenting these products as a solution to our problems that does this. So if you are the person who needs proof of not being alone at this time of year, take a look at which products sell in large volumes in the run up to Christmas. Of course items that are given as presents you can understand, but sofas, carpets, new kitchens, crockery and towels? Surely at such an expensive time of year you would think people would avoid purchasing such items. So what problem could sell a sofa at Christmas? Could it be ‘the mother-in-law is coming?’ The in-law situation is only one of many possible problems to family life. We all have a family member that misbehaves. It maybe Dad who drinks too much, say something to upset the apple cart only to fall asleep in time for the Queen’s speech. Meanwhile Aunt June, having had one sherry too many, is crying over her divorce again. The dinner was late, Mum forgot about the parsnips and now they are caramelised. As the day goes on Mum is really feeling the pressure because not only has she cooked and Dad is asleep, the children are making a mess with the cardboard boxes, they are more interested in them than the presents that were wrapped inside, Now the mother-ln-law is sitting on the new couch casting aspersions at Aunt June who has just knocked over a full glass of red on the brand new Persian rug purchased to promote a ‘happy’ Christmas, and now just to add the cherry on top, no one is helping her wash up!
While this article maybe light hearted at pointing out some of the common misbehaviours of family members, it must also be pointed out that some people really do have a hard time at Christmas. Maybe you are a Dad who can relate to the Dad above. Maybe he worked really hard in a stressful job that supplies a service to a Christmas trade and keeping the finances in check to please his wife and children have been a difficult. Meanwhile the friction between his Mum and wife could be too unbearable to watch. Maybe you can relate to Aunt June’s story who had her life turned upside down with a messy divorce and Christmas is a painful memory to the man she is still grieving for. Or maybe you are a mother-in-law who no matter how hard you try you are unable to watch your son work so hard and be taken for granted by a wife who wants everything for nothing and still wants more. Maybe you can relate to Aunt June’s children how when growing up didn’t know which parent to spend Christmas with.
There are many reasons the stress of Christmas can get to us, if not just by the amount of preparation it takes to be ready in time. There may not even be a significant reason, it may be simply the stress of Christmas has been passed down from one generation to next.
Meanwhile, whatever the reason, Christmas is only around the corner so what can be done to make a difference to your Christmas this year?
If you’re worrying about finances are there any adjustments you can make? Are you buying from a marketing campaign that is selling you a ‘happy Christmas’?
If time is an issue, are there any shortcuts or any family members you can ask for help? Is any of what you plan to do necessary or is it again for a ‘happy Christmas’.
As for other family members this is a little trickier. Maybe you do or don’t want to spend time with them. Maybe you feel you have no choice in this matter, but if you do have a choice what would the consequences of your choice be? Is this something you can change?
In the meantime it might be worth thinking about what your values of Christmas are and whether or not you have been caught in the values that marketers are trying to sell? It may also be worth thinking about any aspects of Christmas you do enjoy and spoiling yourself a little.
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