Christmas is a time of joy, happiness, and spending time with your loved ones, or it should be. However, for some people it’s a time of anxiety, sadness, or the magic is just lost. As we get older the focus of Christmas changes instead of joy it brings stress and spending all the money on gifts that may or may not be appreciated and dealing with family members we only see once a year (and for good reason might I add!). For some people they spend the holiday alone (often) due to things out of their control and they feel isolated and with that they don’t want to acknowledge or celebrate Christmas. Of course, for some people such as doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel it’s just another day in the office and they spend it trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
The reality is that you can spend all the money and time in the world trying to bring the magic of Christmas back but sometimes even that’s not enough and that’s ok. What happens when you’re feeling more like the Grinch instead of Buddy the Elf and how can we accept the conflicted emotions that the holidays often bring?
There is no rule that you must be jolly at Christmastime there may be an expectation, but you are allowed to feel sad or not enjoy it. The reality is that holidays always bring up mixed emotions from sadness because of people you are missing, feeling burnt out due to how crazy the year has been or you’re just over the celebrations. Accept these emotions and embrace them, it’s good to feel things and means you are human. While there are times, we all wish we were robots and could switch off our feelings it’s not possible so instead accept them and let yourself feel everything.
Family can be complicated at times and at Christmas you can’t really avoid them. Dealing with family can bring up feelings you don’t like to acknowledge and may even stir up conflict within you. Try to keep contact minimal and conversation to safe subjects if you’re able to. There are times when it may be helpful to go no contact with family members whether that is long term or just for a while until things settle down. If family is really causing you to not like Christmas, you could celebrate the day with friends and create your own family and traditions.
Stress is normal around this time of year but it’s important to take care of yourself and try to do what you can to reduce it. Maybe that is saying no to events or delegating things to people so it’s one less thing on your plate or just doing vouchers for everyone instead of well thought out gifts because you don’t have the brain space to buy for people. At the end of the day, you do what you need to do to survive this crazy season.
You’re allowed to not celebrate Christmas and pretend it’s a normal day if you can’t handle it or even push it to a different day to celebrate if you can’t get together with your loved ones on the day. There are no rules about Christmas and when, how, or even if you need to celebrate.
This time of year, can be challenging so make new traditions do what you need to do to make Christmas special, feel all the emotions and embrace them all no matter how conflicting they make you feel and if you don’t feel up to celebrating Christmas then do that. This past year has been hard and no one would blame you if you didn’t feel up to celebrating it, you do you.
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