Can Christmas be bad?

For today’s post i wanted to discuss perhaps the dark side of Christmas. There are a lot of pressures at this time of year and for some Christmas can be a dreaded time. While it’s nice to spend lots of money on gifts for your favourite people and gather together your loved ones, some people don’t have that luxury. Some people are homeless or have very little money and can’t afford to keep  up with lavishness that is constantly on parade. Some people spend every day of December wishing the day is over because their loved ones, the ones they so desperately want to spend the holidays with, are no longer around. I think it’s important then while we enjoy our Christmas, we also take a moment to appreciate what we have and spare a thought for the people who aren’t so lucky.

I love Christmas but it’s true that it has turned into a consumer driven holiday. I’m guilty of spending far too much money and there’s nothing wrong with that if you can afford it. The constant reminders however of people’s lavish lifestyle – particularly through social media can put extra strains on people who are struggling to keep up. You’ve all heard of the saying keeping up with the Jones’s and this is a time of year when it feels people are trying to do just that. It’s important to remember that while gifts and full fridges have become a central part of Christmas you need to live within your means. Christmas is one day after all, it’s over the day after and it’s not worth getting yourself in debt or in a stress over. Remember social media is exaggerated. Every thing posted has a filter, whether that is explicitly a filter of a picture on Instagram or a filter on the news feed. We only post the positive so sure you might see a bragging tweet but that person isn’t sharing the rest of their day. A lot of people over compensate on social media to take away from the pain of their everyday lives so this Christmas if you’re feeling the pressure from everyone else, remember not everything is as it seems and the people with the idyllic lifestyles are often the ones who are far from perfect. Social media isn’t all negative though at this time of year, it can be a great way to connect with like-minded people. Sarah Millican started a #joinin campaign on Christmas Day so those on their own don’t have to feel as lonely at Christmas. I think it’s a lovely idea and an amazing gesture.

I think if you’re lucky enough to be celebrating a great Christmas you should consider ways you can give back. Some people are struggling to make ends meet and rely on places like homeless shelters and foodbanks. Why not buy extra at the supermarket and drop off some food at your local bank or why not make a donation to a local charity. I’m not an expert on helping others but there’s things you can do and a little effort can go a long way. It’s always to good to give back. I know some people who do Operation Christmas Child, who package gifts in shoe boxes for children abroad who have very little. I love seeing the gestures people do at this time of year.

Some people experience loneliness at Christmas and if you’ve ever experienced loss you will know how difficult each day can be, let alone days which are specifically dedicated to family. If you know someone on their own this year why not invite them to be a part of your Christmas. Don’t take it personal if they say no, it’s a difficult time for them but if they do say no, see what you can do to help them. Whether that’s a spending more time than normal with them in the run up, making plans for them to look forward to after  or giving them a meaningful gift. It’s nice to be nice and this time of year some people need extra support.

Christmas is a great time of year but for a lot of people, it can also be stressful, overwhelming and sad. Bear in mind other people this Christmas and maybe look at ways you can give back or make a difference.