Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas Pain, Pleasure, Pressure


After a mixed weekend I'm thinking about what happens next. The first thing that crossed my mind is that whether it's me or you today is the beginning of the rest of our lives. I know it's a cliche and to be honest it did make me cringe a little writing it but nevertheless it is true. If you're unhappy or something isn't working for you give it some thought and find ways of dealing with it. That's what I try to do. I don't always succeed and sometimes find myself in a reactive situation but I guess that's another example of human fallibility. 

Today I have had numerous things to do but in between the chores I had a visit from my niece-in-law which was lovely. Christmas is approaching but so is my retirement. I met a woman I really liked recently and she told me that when she retired she didn't plan anything for a year. She felt so tired and exhausted she just parked the car so to speak and relaxed. I know others who have retired and plan extensively. I'm thinking that after years of working with a diary the last thing I want to do is to make enjoyment a rigid routine so I think my approach will be to chill a lot and plan a little. 

The first thing for me is to get through Christmas relatively unscathed. It may shock some of you when I say I'm not really a fan of the festive season. It seems to me that it's a lot of stressful activity and as a reward we get to spend lots of money on presents that no one really wants? I won't do the boring when I was a kid routine but I am convinced it used to be more enjoyable and I don't think that's just nostalgia. But whether you're like me and will be glad when it's over or a big fan there's no doubt that this is a busy period. It's also a period when the frustrations of daily life can be magnified and spill out sometimes in a destructive way.

Michelle on my problem page recently spoke about Christmas getting in the way of leaving her husband and that happens quite a bit in my experience. People find their everyday life intolerable but tell themselves that after Christmas or when they've been on holiday they'll sort it and or leave. Another myth is that when they've had a baby or bought a house or have got married then all will be well. It never or rarely is it's simply displacement activity. My point is that often people try to stuff down their problems and try to get on with making it a good holiday for the kids or their elderly relatives whilst fighting a sense of despair. Now I'm not advocating that people shouldn't try to put their problems aside. I'm just saying see it as a transaction. It's something you are doing as a gift but you are not the sacrifice. In other words making a contract with yourself that I will do this but the contract expires on said date and then I take action in support of me. If you fail to do that you are more likely to build up the tension and then you are likely to indulge in some boxing day fallout!


9 comments:

  1. Well said! Remember even if you're the host or hostess - Christmas is for you as well x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, I'm not really a fan either. It always seems to emphasize the difference between the haves and the have-nots, and I am not just talking money here: the loneliest time of the year for some, and an excess of imposed rellies for others.  Still, now I have learned to be more laid-back I tolerate Christmas, and let my kids and OH enjoy it without being too Scroogey!

    ReplyDelete
  3. a good point about loneliness though I guess not everyone on their own feels lonely? I love the idea of you being laid back and allowing your loved ones to enjoy it in their own way. I'm booking in for lessons with you in the New Year! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do think that many people feel the pressure to have the 'perfect' Christmas, you know the twinkly happy singing round the piano kind that are popular in films and television and/or under pressure to give presents that are beyond their financial means.

    When I talk with others about their Christmas memories, they never mention any expensive gifts they received, or that everything was perfect. They talk about the people they were with, the things they did together. Laughing about forgetting to defrost the turkey, rescuing the ham from the jaws of the family pet.

    People and time are what's important.

    The day is going to happen whether you've got the everything on your shopping list or wasting energy making sure everyone is enjoying themselves so much that you forget to enjoy it too. Existing problems wont go away during the festivities, nor will running yourself into the ground to produce the perfect Christmas in the hope that your partner will magically fall in love with you again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am finding I am enjoying Christmas less as each year goes on. There is so much pressure put on people this time of year - and with the recession it will hit a lot of people hard this year. I feel for the parents that have to battle with the excitement of little ones expecting presents from Santa and the lack of funds to make that happen - it brings me back to when I was a single parent and the guilt I felt at not being able to give my girls what I felt they deserved. But we did get through it and because of it made me a stronger person.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I detest shopping, I don’t like to cook, I hate wrapping presents and I somehow manage to enjoy the holidays. In my job, I see the repercussions of too little money and too much alcohol. Christmas tends to be the domestic violence season. I give a great sigh of relief when all my ornaments are put away and life goes back to MY normal. Next year’s expectations are high but that’s me. I hope your next few weeks are better and your New Year is stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much for commenting - we are definitely on the same page on this one Karen :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm the same Sheila. I think it started to change for me when I found myself asking if the things I'd bought were good enough? Nevertheless after the difficult year you've had I hope you enjoy yours :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'll say one thing - you're my kind of woman! :)

    ReplyDelete