Wednesday, 7 December 2016

"IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR"... UGH

As the song goes, it's the "most wonderful time of the year" - it's not for everyone. For every merry carol singer, there's a person who will happily slam a door in their face. For every person who buys and wraps their Christmas presents in August, there's someone who leaves it until Christmas Eve. For every person who organises a great big family get together, they'll be someone who's alone for Christmas. Does this sound familiar?

Me too. I have a real love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love it because it's a precious time spent with my family, Christmas dinner is my favourite meal of the year, seeing others open their presents make me smile, opening my own presents makes me smile (and sometimes cry) AND I get almost 2 weeks off work.

BUT. I also hate Christmas. I hate that not all my family are here to share it with me. I hate that it's a holiday surrounded by food. Food that isn't healthy. Food that's very hard to avoid (because it's so damn delicious). I hate that everyone is stressed because it is so expensive. I hate that it comes around so quick (like WHAT THE HECK, it's almost Christmas). I hate going shopping for presents (or even essentials for me) because it's so damn busy. I hate all the advertising everywhere, trying to get money out of you. I hate that we are reminded it's almost Christmas so early.

Yeah. A reak Love/Hate. 

Get what I mean:? Here are some of my tips to enjoy this time of year, just a little bit. 

Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate 

Appreciate. Have I said it enough yet? But SERIOUSLY, be grateful that you can celebrate Christmas this year. You may have had some bad news, you may not be celebrating it with all your loved ones. But you're here. You can eat Christmas dinner (that's just the best bit isn't it?) And i'm sure you will be unwrapping at least one present. You wait for it, you'll be sitting around the fire place (in an ideal world obvs - I'll be sitting around the TV at home) feeling all full and bloated from the Christmas dinner, wondering when is an acceptable time to eat pudding, more chocolate and shortbread. And there will be just a little grin on your face. Maybe you're grinning Christmas is almost over, but a small part of you will be happy in the day's festivities.

Do your shopping online

If you suffer with anxiety, can't get out to the shops this year or simply hate the Christmas shopping crowds, shop online. Now, I'll be honest, I done this last year. I bought all my presents online and I felt relieved that I didn't need to hit the shops to buy anymore presents. I totally avoided any kind of shopping centre. The problem was, it was Christmas week and I just felt like so un-Christmassy. Like a cop-out for not going to a shopping centre AT ALL. So, me and Chris hit the shops! We didn't buy much more, but it was quite nice to go shopping closer to the big day.

But, if even this feels you with dread. Do it all online. Everyone does it now, hence the 'Cyber Monday'. Don't let Christmas shopping be the reason you hate Christmas.

Budget and Planning

Spending all that money on Christmas presents make you feel a bit queasy? Then make sure you plan ahead and stick to a budget.

Ask your friends and family to write you a little "wish list" with some cheaper and a bit more pricey bits, pick a budget for each person (I usually go for the same money on Mum, Dad and Brother, a little bit more on Chris and I will be spending a bit more on the baby next year) and plan what you are going to buy them, in keeping with this budget.

That way, you don't need to stress. You can shop around for different prices on the goods you want to buy. And seriously, don't feel bad if you don't have enough to "spoil" your loved ones. Trust me, it's the thought that counts, so the more thoughtful your present, the better.

For example, every year, I make my uncle Keefie these Lemon Curd and Almond Christmassy biscuits and he loves them! 

Ignore the adverts

Every year, everyone bangs on about the new John Lewis advert and the whole "When you see the Coca Cola advert, then you know it's Christmas!" Ugh, it bores me to death. But, there's no need to get annoyed about it and let it ruin the Christmas spirit. Yeah, it's dull. Yeah, it's pointless. Yeah, it's stupid. But, it doesn't stop you having a precious day with your loved ones. That's what Christmas is about.

Don't watch Christmas movies

This one is quite similar to the last but god. Aren't Christmas films so depressing? There's a man and a woman (usually a single mum) who are alone for Christmas. Eventually they find each other and spend the day together. The end.

Now, when you're all wrapped up in a cosy blanket with your partner and all your friends and family around you, man, it is so perfect. But so many of us don't have that and does that mean we can't enjoy Christmas? Or have to watch these movies feeling sad?

If they make you sad (which they have me in the past), turn them off. Simple as that.

Turn off the cliche Christmas movie and watch something a bit more light, a bit less depressing and a bit more you.  

Volunteer/Work

A few Christmas' ago, I worked. I was having a bad year and I felt really sad that my nan couldn't be with us, when I really wanted her here and missed her more than ever. So when I got asked to work Christmas day, I said yes.

I was 16 at the time and I used to work at a Retirement Village. It was simply one of the best Christmas' I've had. I spent the day with the elderly, serving them their Christmas dinner and chatting away.

Some were eating alone. Some with friends. And some with family. Even though I was feeling sad about being without my nan at Christmas, it made me feel so lovely to have made their Christmas.

After work was finished, I came home to a wonderful Christmas dinner with my Mum, Dad and Brother. It was perfect.

Don't be led into a false "ideal" that Christmas has to be a certain way. Do you. Do what makes you happy. If you're like how Chandler (from Friends) was with Thanksgiving and hated the holiday, then there's plenty of things you can do. You can either ignore the holiday (don't eat Christmas dinner, turn off the television), distract yourself (volunteering or working) or find things in Christmas that allow you to love it again.

Ignore what everyone else is doing! Ignore what society says about Christmas! Find what you enjoy about this time of year and simply, enjoy it.

Plus, if you're not pregnant (like me), it's a great excuse to have a few extra cocktails, a few glasses of wine and a good party. Drink. Party. Celebrate. Then it's New Year, so more booze. You lucky guys.

Did you find some ideas here? Or think of some of your own you would like to share? Comment below or tweet me. I'd love to hear your thoughts. AND HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS. 




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