The season of good cheer is almost upon us once more. How did that happen? Judging by the way the shops carry on, all the ghastly festive paraphernalia starts rearing its ugly head by September. Christmas trees sprout up by October and by November – we’re in full hideous hysteria, counting the days we have left to lose those extra pounds to squeeze into that little black number (only to put them all back again – and more), racking our brains for gift ideas and engaging in full-scale war with our significant others, about how we’re going to survive spending time with the assorted hotch potch of his n’ her family and friends. Not to mention having to endure folks we can barely tolerate the other 364 days of the year.
Then – when Christmas day actually arrives, we end up eating way too much, bingeing on huge amounts of unhealthy food and booze – and then collapsing semi-comatose thereafter in front of the box, just in time for the Queen’s speech. Is this really fun?
Why do we do it to ourselves? Unless you’re religious – which I’m not – then it’s a really good question. Tradition plays a part, but actually Christmas is a dreadful time of year for anybody who’s suffered personal loss, or is ill, alone or depressed. Unspoken feelings between family members, which get stuffed down along with the turkey – ever ready to explode at the slightest provocation. Disappointment when the gift you wanted was a bottle of Chanel number 5 – and instead you’re presented with a Primark onesie, and your benevolent, fake smile hurts so much, your face feels like it’s about to crack.
And if you’re single – that can feel like a giant bucket of gritting salt – carelessly chucked into your gaping emotional, lonely wound. If you’re part of a blended family – with stepchildren and ex-partners thrown into the emotional melting pot, you’ve got the potential of a scenario which makes “War And Peace” seem like “Wind In The Willows“.
January looms – the most depressing month of the year. Excess pounds, depleted wallets, and low moods vie for your attention.
The Christmas message is drowned out by the ugly manifestation of rampant commercialism. Whether you believe or not – the message should be about hope and having faith in the future. Instead, we go absolutely crazy, held hostage by the disease of more – where needs are few but wants are many. We try to patch up our inner, insatiable void with external fripperies – and it never works.
For children I can see the point – the excitement of Santa coming, the bright Christmas lights and putting out milk and carrots for Rudolf the red nose reindeer. But for we supposed grown-ups – let’s face it, Christmas has lost its sparkle.
I believe it’s time to stop, think and regroup. Life is short so why go along with all the fuss just to please others? If Christmas is your bag – fine. But for those of us who for whatever personal reasons would rather skip from November, straight to January -there should be no guilt. We have to learn to please ourselves first and foremost – because we’re worth it.