Stay Safe - Stay Sane
at Christmas Time
This is a “Stay safe at Christmas” message of a different kind. Nothing about “don’t drink and drive” or “don’t ruin your career at the office’s Christmas party”.
Very important warnings, but this message is about something else.
There is something about Christmas which brings up images of being together with family and friends. About happy people around a table, under a festive tree or in front of a roaring fire. Everybody is smiling, and everybody is happy. A true season of joy.
How come that from the end of November onward we tell our friends that we couldn’t possible meet up with them before Christmas? How come that the idea of a “Merry Christmas” drives us in the run up to Christmas to absolute exhaustion?
Well, like with so many things in life it is the idea of a “perfect” Christmas which makes Christmas for many of us anything but perfect.
We see pictures in adverts and feel pressured to match them. We start to worry that “our” Christmas will be judged to be “not good enough”.
But –– why?
The drive to live up to a perceived standard is often born out of a sense of insecurity. In my work as a CBT therapist I often discuss with my clients the underlying anxieties and self doubt behind perfectionism.
Is there an alternative?
Take a moment and imagine a Christmas with not all but just some trimmings. An imperfect Christmas but one with you as a relaxed human being.
Nobody likes Brussels sprouts, so they are not served at the Christmas table. If your family just loves Pizza – what is wrong with a Pizza on Christmas?
Will your family break up because there are no Brussels sprouts? Will broken Christmas lights on the tree result in the break up of the family?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating the abolishment of Christmas celebrations. Far from it.
But I think less is more. One of the best Christmas celebrations I had consisted of family around a table, eating potato salad, sausages and a bought cake. There was enough energy to sing Christmas carols and to talk to each other. And the kitchen was cleaned up in less than an hour.
So please, do not get caught up in the pressure of a perfect Christmas – aim for a cheerful and stress-free time.
Don’t aim for perfection, aim for “just good enough”.
With everyone, including you, relaxed.
Having a smiling parent is more important for kids that being served a selection of homemade starters and deserts.
Don’t force yourself to bake cookies with your children if you already know that you won’t be able to enjoy it. Rather go for something simple like decorating Christmas bubbles or ask them to help with the Christmas cards. Whatever you do, they will enjoy it more when they see you enjoying it too.
Stay save – stay sane.
And really do have a “Merry Christmas”.