Monday, 23 December 2019

Hating Christmas does not make you a scrooge: 9 stress-free ways to make the festive period more bearable


Illustration of sad and happy gingerbread men

There's no time to waste, I am not going to drag this out...the festive period is not my favourite thing and you know what. it's okay to not be a fan of Christmas. There is this stereotype, partly due to The Christmas Carol and the good old Grinch, that people who detest Christmas are cold-hearted scrooges. I mean, how can it be possible to dread Christmas? Indeed, for people who live and breathe Christmas, this is a mystery. 

Everyone is an individual, they deserve to have a right to love or hate Christmas. If you don't like Christmas, there could be hundreds of reasons why. I personally believe that one of the worst things that people can do is drag each-other down for having clashing opinions about the festive holidays. I used to feel guilty for disliking Christmas. As I got older, I suppose I have learned to celebrate Christmas in my own little way.

In this post, I will emphasize that disliking Christmas does not make you a bad person. I will go through some personal reasons for not liking the festive holiday season (hopefully you will relate!). Most importantly, I will offer solutions to make your Christmas more bearable and hopeful. 



9 reasons why I don't like Christmas and ways to make Christmas more bearable 


1. Abusive families and complicated family dynamics


When I was little, it felt like Christmas was like a plaster that was put over my dysfunctional family, my family used to pretend that everything was okay. People smiled and joked around, but then as soon as the Christmas meal was finished, it seemed like everyone was ready to get back to their old roles and drama. 

This festive performance seemed so fake. It can be extremely difficult to celebrate Christmas with a family who is not the best for you. It can also feel like other people's families are better than yours, but don't fool yourself with the comparisons because there is no such thing as a perfect family. 

SOLUTION: If you are in the same boat as me and your family is not the best or you can't stand the fake niceties of Christmas, the best thing to do is to re-work the meaning of Christmas. After all, Christmas is seen as the time to spend with your family, but who says that this needs to be a blood-related family? You are allowed to make your own bonds that are stronger and healthier than the ones that you have with your relatives. I also feel like it is also useful to stop feeling guilty or ashamed on behalf of your family. Your parents' poor behaviour is not your fault. 

2. The consumerism of Christmas 


Once upon a time, I have worked in retail for a popular clothing store. Since then, I have never experienced anything as soul-crushing as working in retail throughout the festive period. It further emphasized to me that Christmas is this huge money-making machine for businesses.

I think that the wonderful kind aspect of gift-giving has been turned into a consumerist nightmare, where companies pump new launches and cover their packages in pompous glitter just to tempt you into buying things that people don't even need. 

SOLUTION: You can't fix the consumerist society but you can balance your perception. Christmas is not purely a sales trick. There a people out there doing kind things, for instance, volunteering for their local communities. Remember to pay attention to these little things to instil some festive hope in your heart. 


3. Budgeting and stressful buying 


Christmas is not exactly the cheapest thing. There is food to get, decorations, gifts. Finding the money for Christmas can be quite stressful. Christmas can be extremely difficult for families who are trying their best to make the ends meet. How can you celebrate, when you struggle to pay the bills? 

Poverty is definitely the killer of the Christmas spirit. And then, there is also the difficulty with making sure that you get the things that people actually want. 

SOLUTION: Planning and saving is the best way to celebrate Christmas in a stress-free way, and not leaving everything to the last minute. Have a strategy in place. It can help you avoid the feeling that you need to look for change just to buy someone a present. When it comes to getting what other people want, the easiest way to make sure that you are buying the right thing is actually asking them what they want. Christmas gift wish-lists are an absolute life saviour for me and they definitely save a lot of time when it comes to getting people presents! 


4. Places constantly packed with people 


Christmas period often means that places get crowded with people, and I can't stand it. Even going to a generic shop can feel like stepping into a hive filled with bees. When children go on holiday it gets even worse - they scream, they shout and moan. I get easily overstimulated in loud situations. I suppose it's an introvert problem. I usually limit myself from going outside when it's the festive period, just to avoid the stress. 

SOLUTION: You can't just sit indoors all day, becoming a hermit can have detrimental effects on your mental health. Try to find your personal peaceful places to be in. For me, the place that I spend the most time during the festive period is my local library or a coffee shop. I am sure that there are quiet gems near you as well. When it comes to people, timing can also be a massive factor. You may find that heading to town early in the morning is better than later in the afternoon. Absolutely, you can also avoid getting stuck in the crowds by shopping online. 

5. Feeling lonely during the festive period 


Christmas can get tough if you struggle with loneliness. Personally, I don't have many friends and it can get difficult because the festive period emphasizes the social life of people. Christmas is a card-giving, party-going, friend-loving time. 

Not having many friends can make it seem like there is something wrong with you. I need to also stress that it is also possible to feel lonely and disconnected from others even if you have friends. 

SOLUTION: You can't make friends overnight. Social media can be a great tool (in moderation!) to feel like you are connected with people. When you start to feel lonely, you should also remember to take care of yourself and do something kind to lift your spirits. Learn to enjoy your own company. You should also note that when it comes to friendships, it's all about quality and not quantity. 


6. Festive social comparisons 


Festive social comparisons can make you feel like you don't have your life together. It can make it seem like everyone apart from you is living the festive dream sprinkled with happiness and success. 

Getting stuck in these comparisons can damage your sense of self-worth, and with social media, it might seem like it is impossible to avoid completely. In some way, I feel like there is this underlying competition of Christmas, and it ruins the festive spirit. 

SOLUTION: Instead of focusing on what other people are doing with their lives, pay more attention to yourself. Focus on creating a clear vision that will help you to improve your skills and so on. You need to remember that social media is not a realistic representation of life. People can choose to put their so-called polished life and hide the crap bits. Nobody has a perfect life, some are just better at pretending that they do. 

7. The pressure to have your shit together


I think this goes hand in hand with festive social comparisons. I feel like, during Christmas time, I have a great pressure to have my shit together. You know, remembering things, staying on top of deadlines and tasks. 

Christmas and the cold weather can also make you feel more lethargic (well, that definitely happens to me!) this means that completing set tasks and deadlines is harder than normal. 

As a naturally anxious individual, this pressure to make sure that I have my shit together makes me panic senseless. Christmas for me personally is a representation of how quickly the time is passing by. 

SOLUTION: Cut yourself some slack! Being unproductive does not make you worthless. If you don't have your shit together completely, this is not the end of the world. Instead of working yourself to death, try to use this festive period as an opportunity to recharge your batteries and reflect on your goals for the future.  


8. The never-ending Christmas music 


Oh my goodness! Christmas music. The never-ending repetition of Christmas songs drives me mad. Love it or hate it, but you need to admit it that when it comes to Christmas time, it's just impossible to escape the voice of Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé. 

SOLUTION: Working as a support worker helped me to tolerate Christmas music... somewhat. I was exposed to Christmas songs during the festive period in my job for months. I think to cope with Christmas music if you are a so-called 'Grinch' like myself, is to embrace the cheesiness of Christmas tunes. Now, I can't help but start humming Jingle Bells randomly. You can also find Christmas songs that you like, say by your favorite artists. 

9. The pressure to appear in good spirits 


Christmas is all about jolly spirits and happiness. This is the time for people to be together as a happy functioning unit. People who are unable to get themselves in a good spirit can seem bitter or even selfish. How dare they ruin the Christmas spirit! 

In my opinion, forced happiness is the worst kind of happiness. Your mental health is not a light-switch, you can't just switch your happiness on when other people demand it. 

SOLUTION: You need to stop caring about other people think and do the things on your terms. If you are unable to be 100% happy, try doing some things that make you smile. Occupy your mind with activities that you enjoy doing. You are not alone struggling in this festive period with mental health difficulties. 


That's all folks! These are some of the reasons why I (and other people) don't like Christmas and the festive period in general. I hope that my solutions to Christmas problems will provide you with festive hope and make the festive time more bearable for you. 

Christmas is a deeply personal time and there is no right way to celebrate it. You can structure Christmas around your own needs and well-being. Lastly, you have a complete right to dislike Christmas, it does not make you a monster. Take care of yourself. 


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1 comment :

  1. Yes to the never ending music! How I despise is; it seems the songs start weeks before December even begins, and they cut down my mood for the lights and festivity.
    I love your solutions to finding company, staying on track when out buying gifts, and remembering what the season is all about. In my mind, good will and happiness ought to be shared year round, not reserved specially for a slip of a season.

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