Taking the dread out of December

From Rowena Hardy, Minds Aligned

Eek! Have you found that you blinked that bit too long and then opened your eyes to find it is suddenly December? Me too! It feels as though the year has flown past and Christmas is just around the corner, and that could fill you with excitement or stop you in your tracks with dread.

December may mark the start of the serious build up to festivities and all of the frantic card buying, gift wrapping, food preparing and event juggling that goes with it. For others, it might just be quiet family time with no particular celebration or just another day because a lot of what you feel to be true or important about Christmas depends on your religious beliefs, your culture and your upbringing.

Each December, as a child, we’d go on a special trip to London to see the Christmas lights and press our noses to the windows of the various department stores to get as close as possible to the wonderful window displays. I recall being delighted by the Christmas scenes they depicted and transfixed by what I was convinced was real snow falling in the display. and cake. We’d visit Santa’s grotto, go shopping and stop for tea. I remember what a treat that was and how real it all seemed, the anticipation and excitement.

Christmas for me in tropical Queensland these days is literally a world away from that and looking back now I appreciate all of the effort and hard work my mother put into to making Christmas feel festive and special for her three daughters, and recognise that it must also have been stressful.

You may feel the same and it can be a tense and anxious time for various reasons. Societal and cultural pressure and commercial overwhelm seducing us into making impulse purchases that can strain finances to breaking point. Family disputes erupting about where to go, what to eat, who to invite. Bored and demanding children, frail and elderly relatives, work deadlines, Christmas functions all competing for attention and we’re in the middle, feeling we need to do everything and keep everyone happy.

It can get so bad that we reach Christmas exhausted, irritable and with a short emotional fuse; Is it truly worth that? It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill and thanksgiving after all.

This year, I suggest you could put a bit more time back into you. So I invite you to consider what small changes you can make to your usual December routine. What can you do differently to release some of the pressure you may be feeling? Maybe ask your family for their creative ideas and suggestions for how to keep things more cost-effective, simpler and more enjoyable for everyone. How will they help? What will they contribute? You may be pleasantly surprised! It’s about creating the magic of memories after all, isn’t it?