My own experience of Christmas over the years has been a mixed bag ... including different varieties of 'make the best of it'. Christmas dinners taken to hospital beds, Christmas hellos reduced to FaceTime as ‘flu struck all but one, ‘first’ Christmas’s of grief, visits thwarted by illness, and unexpected drives on quiet Christmas Day motorways. Christmas is now approached good humouredly with an open mind, cautiously wondering what will be in store this year. "Prepare for the worst ; expect the best ; and take what comes" seems a good motto.
Amongst the more difficult times were the glorious times, small children, Santa Claus and christmas trees, the pleasure of giving, Christmas films and festivities, too many mince pies to mention.
I remember one Christmas working with others to provide a Christmas Day meal for those who were alone or rootless or broke. An eye opener to the need for all of us to support those less fortunate than ourselves ..... at a time when the intensity of advertising and TV accentuates our losses and lacks, the weather is cold, and general services close down leaving an eerie isolation if you are without welcoming family.
Not forgetting all our nurses, doctors, firemen, police, service industry workers, who carry on regardless, giving up their own home based Christmas to continue to look after us.
Christmas can be many things, sometimes unexpected. One thing is for sure - it is pressure. Thinking of tips for smoothest survival in the Christmas period, these would be top of my list ......
- Pay attention to your needs. Listen to yourself. Try to do only what you feel comfortably able to do.
- Resist comparison. This means taking with a pinch of salt (or avoiding) others Facebook entries, TV advertisements, media images, all of which can project an idealised Christmas.
- Consider others, if you can, and find it in your heart to give a kindness to another who needs it.
- Talk to someone - reach out. Speak to an online counsellor by Telephone, Skype or FaceTime, Webcam or Webchat. Most importantly, try to connect.
- Think healthy - Limit alcohol, walk, eat to nurture.
Warm Christmas wishes to all.