It’s the most wonderful time of the year right?…… is it?…. really?
To be fair for a lot of people it will be but for so many, it isn’t the most wonderful time. Many say it’s completely lost it’s meaning and it brings hardship to lots of people and families; both emotionally and physically.
People strive to make it the perfect christmas, far better than last year some say. But what is the perfect christmas? Who laid down what the perfect christmas is? Surely it’s different for everyone. Is perfection all the family being together? Bringing all the emergency chairs out to get as many people around the table as possible? Buying the biggest christmas tree that takes up most of the room? Buying out most of the supermarkets or even better, local shops in order to have the most ridiculous amount of food, chocolates and alcohol just to put on display? Making sure your partner and your kids get everything they want not what they need? Or is it sometimes just being on your own and enjoying some down time? Its different for everyone.
I remember our christmases when I was a kid. We would all line up by the phone when father christmas rang so we could all take turns in letting him know what we would like, which was never much because we were never greedy. Years later we found out that the person on the other end of the phone was my sweet, sweet grandad. We used to attend christmas parties at my nan and grandads house and they were always brilliant!! There was so many people there, aunties, uncles, cousins you name it. Some family members you never saw from one year to the next but we would always see them at this special event. Nan and grandads house would always feel like a grotto with all the decorations they had, it looked amazing and always felt like christmas. My mum always did our house the same and she still does to this day, and my sister Denise always makes hers christmassy as well. My decorations are very minimal in contrast but my tree is always full of trinkets donated by all my friends and family. Every item is personal and means I always have a bit of everyone at my house over christmas.
During these parties at my grandparents we would play games like bingo but the numbers only ever went up to 70 instead of the standard 90, so the winners where always decided by my grandad. He would then have a jam jar filled with coins and we all had to guess how much was in it. The closest person would win that jar and I can’t ever remember winning it!! We would play board games and have sing songs as well as a raffle. I remember winning my first electric toothbrush in one of the raffles and I still have it to this day approx 10 years on. The main thing I remember from all those parties was their homemade trifle; I looked forward to it everytime! As the years went by the numbers at the party diminished as people passed away and family dynamics changed. When they downsized into a bungalow the parties downsized considerably and it was mainly direct family which was actually really nice. Since joining the RAF I worked a lot of christmases and missed moments like these. Sadly christmas has changed for me and I dont have the buzz for it that I used to have. I am currently overseas for the christmas period just to have some time to myself but I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that its just not the same. So many families get themselves into a struggle and stress themselves just to try to make it perfect for others, much to the detriment of themselves and their bank balance.
Some people see christmas as a religious celebration following the birth of Jesus where as others would absolutely deny that. I’m a christian and like to live a good life and support others, and I will never change that. The Father Christmas concept developed from when St Nic used to go around giving gifts of food, clothing and other necessities to families around him who had nothing. This long since developed and is overshadowed by becoming a commercial prospect. Families are getting themselves into debt to afford a half decent christmas but then they struggle afterwards. Some have taken to payday loans with ridiculous repayment options just to give others a fun time for 1 day. I go to so many houses where people have bought a ridiculous amount of food, sweets and alcohol only to still have them much later in the year! A lot of it is thrown away which is sad when you think that more and more families are having to rely on food banks this year.
Looking around family tables now you see fewer numbers because people have lost loved ones. We no longer have my nana and grandad and I know even in my family some will be sat on christmas day, like it’s just another day because it just isn’t the same. I would love to be there with them all but to be fair I’m not the Vicar of Dibly, I can’t be everywhere even though I wish I could be. I will be thinking of them all as I do often but I needed some time out. Look around your family table, do you have a spare seat? Could you fill it with someone who has nothing or is on their own? It could be an elderly adult living on their own on your street, or a veteran or a homeless person who would be grateful of your kindness. It could be someone who lives on their own at whatever age who would be glad of your very kind offer. Christmas is not about buying the latest playstation game, or the latest trainers or other expensive label. It’s about so much more than that, it’s the thought and sentiment attached to the gift. Offering someone a spare seat at your table is the most precious gift you could give to someone this year, and it is within your power to gift it.
Christmas doesn’t always hold fond memories for some and we have to be conscious of that. Our minds naturally wander thinking about those who are no longer with us, or situations where christmas brings bad memories. Some dread that because of horrid things that have happened around this time of year. It may be a significant anniversary which will be heightened by the fact so many are jolly over this period. There are those who are currently going through struggles and are finding it hard to even get up in the morning never mind be happy and jolly; you can only pretend for so long. Others are going through family breakups or struggles and actually could do without the forced fun. There is so much going on for so many and sadly not everyone thinks christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Families are separated by their loved ones working away whether that be in the military or other. Some people are grieving recent losses or supporting someone through serious health worries. This is most definitely not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone.
Christmas is supposed to be a time for giving but you dont need to spend lots of money to make someone appreciate the gift or you. Surely your personal time is the most treasured gift you can give? Giving someone your time can make their year, that has to be better don’t you think? However, dont neglect yourself this time of year. I have been ridiculously busy and I’m not complaining but my gift to me is some much needed time out and it may be the same for you. So don’t neglect yourself because you matter to.
For everyone out there, I truly hope this season is the best it can be for you. If you need to talk to anyone then reach out to someone close, or to the many charities that are out there to support you, do not suffer alone because you absolutely do not have to. If you need some support but dont know where you can turn then send me a message and I will signpost. A new app called the Hub of Hope is fantastic also so download it and take a look at all the services available to you in your area.
All the very best to everyone this festive season and beyond.
By the way, how many of you have that song in your head now? 🤪