On the Couch - Christmas - What are we doing?

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If you read my Facebook page @thetherapyshedHQ or Twitter page @therapyshedHQ you will know that I have given up the fight to blog the apparently golden Google listing 3 times a week, I can’t be golden anymore! I simply haven’t got time! Although, I really enjoy it and find it therapeutic to know that if I help just one person in any small way it will be worth it. Friday is my new once a week blogging day, it will give me all week to come up with something that might be half interesting! I will continue to cover wellness in general, mental health and weight loss.

Christmas – What are we doing?

I stood in the queue in Home Bargains on a busy Saturday a couple of weeks ago and found myself checking my chin wasn’t so far on the floor anyone would notice! The lady in front of me had a trolley full, I mean brimming over type full, with crap, plastic, un-educational toys, which, she placed on the belt with a sense of pride, which, I’m sure she had undoubtedly worked very hard and saved for, which makes it all the more ironic.

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My shock was not only the sheer amount of plastic crap but at the mind-numbingly, thoughtless act of what she was doing, she was merely ticking the buy-everything-my-child-wants-box, the kids have asked for it and they’re getting it, which somehow some parents think elevates them up the scale in the best parent stakes.

So I got to thinking, from our wellness and mental health point of view about Christmas – What are we doing?

December has again rushed up and bitten us on the backside! The positives and negatives of life are magnified this time of year in their extreme. We put massive pressures on ourselves to do or not do things we don’t at any other time of the year. There are negatives and positives for all of us, some of the positives are; the joy of giving and receiving, seeing family and friends, the lovely tree and decorations, all the gifts beautifully wrapped under the tree, feasting on fresh, homemade food, playing games with the children squealing with delight, Christmas carols and cards from people you only hear from this time of year. But by definition there are also as many negatives; dreading having to go out and shop, our creative uselessness is highlighted in the gift wrapping stakes! Socialising or meeting up with family, the financial burden of giving gifts, the shops jam-packed full of Christmas stuff subconsciously burdening us even more, the commercialism of it all is turning some of us into obedient sheep, being alone with no one to give or share with, stress and anxiety are rife in every avenue. What are we doing?

In my opinion, I think it would be much healthier that we all take a step back from Christmas, take a look at the positives and the negatives, whichever pertains to you and reinvent a Christmas that suits you. If you’re Christian you will probably want to observe a traditional Christmas, but you can still make it fit your life. If you’re not, like my family, even a little bit, you have no excuse!

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December the 25th has been celebrated by most civilisations; Pagans, Romans, Anglo Saxons and latterly in the 4th century, by Christians. The story goes that we were all having fun and feasting anyway with various celebrations of the Pagan Winter solstice, Roman redistribution of wealth and the return of the Anglo Saxon Sun, that when Christianity took hold they ‘hijacked’ this time as the birth of the ‘Son’, not the Sun.

So what I’m saying is, Christmas, it seems, has been redesigned over the centuries, borrowing traditions from Rome, Egypt, Anglo Saxons, Scandinavia and Europe to fit the ‘now’, well, I think that my ‘now’ has come, if it doesn’t sit well with you and your lives either, redesign it. Don’t feel under pressure to conform out of a sense of duty or tradition, or do anything that makes you feel any negative emotion, give yourself permission.

As we all get the time off work anyway, it would be silly not to make this time a celebration of rest if nothing else. If you want to celebrate something, celebrate your annual achievements, the Sun, the courgettes you grew in the summer, your friends, your family, your dog, whatever. Design a new one that doesn’t incorporate anything negative for you.

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For my personal Christmas I have decided to have a Christmas tree and all the lights, this makes me feel happy, as does sitting down with my immediate family and having a turkey, we ditched Christmas pudding years ago, we have chocolate fondants with homemade vanilla ice cream, because that is what makes us feel good, we don’t bother with crackers either, who wants a ridiculous plastic thing and have to wear an equally ridiculous hat?! We don’t go anywhere and no one comes to us, I’m not bothered about cards, so not doing that, it makes us feel happy to spend time with the wider family visiting on boxing day, that way it takes the pressure off the person who is feeding us, bubble and squeak is much less stressful!

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I would still like to give a gift to my children and grandchildren to see their gorgeous faces smile, remind them that we love them and are thinking of them. My particular bugbear is shopping, I hate it! This is obviously a million times worse in December, I don’t like the time it takes to wrap it all either, so, I will be playing to my strengths on the gift front for the adults, which is cooking and massaging, my adult prezzies will be homemade food hampers with chutneys, pate, mince pies, chilli oils, biscuits etc., and specially blended massage oil hampers for the couples in my life!

What are you doing?

Denise Kirby