December already - where this year has gone? Each one seems to disappear faster than the last – and here we are on the brink of another period of festivities and fun – and a new decade!
How are you planning to spend Christmas this year? Perhaps you’ve decided to fly away to an exotic location or maybe visiting family who live abroad. A very tempting prospect, particularly with the temperature dropping and the days shortening over the next weeks.
Or, if you’re spending it here, are you someone who takes pleasure in shopping for Christmas presents by the end of November and has everything wrapped up, the Christmas cake cooked and all the Christmas cards sent? Or are you more of a ‘last minute’ person who has a busy, demanding life for eleven months of the year and fits in the Christmas preparations once the lights are on in your local town or village and the well-known Christmas songs are blasting out of the stores?
Whichever way you prefer to handle the ever-increasing pressures of Christmas, with deadlines looming before work finishes, sometimes on Christmas Eve, or perhaps you’re a nurse or firefighter and are working right through Christmas, there’s no denying that it’s an exciting and fun time of year for many people and a truly joyous occasion where children are involved, which has a knock-on effect on those around them.
Whether you’re approaching Christmas as a mum, dad, singleton, or grandparent, sometimes you can feel that you’re on a never-ending treadmill that you can’t get off…. and whilst we’re on the subject, will you be making the usual New Year Resolutions again (eg joining the gym and yet again promising yourself that you will keep it up this year), or giving up alcohol again, or trying another diet in the hope that this time it will work? Never mind, it’s the discipline of setting goals for 2020 that concentrates the mind - and hopefully next year’s resolutions will be more successful!
Make it Meaningful
Over the years the meaning of Christmas has undoubtedly become more materialistic, making it difficult for some people who feel they have to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ and so it loses its true meaning and becomes a worrying time for hard-stretched families and others. Other people find that Christmas isn’t as fun a time as it used to be because their families are either living too far away or sadly the older members have died, or loved ones are in hospital or in bad health, and naturally they don’t look forward to this time of year as they feel everyone else is having a wonderful time. Fortunately we are lucky in the UK as there are many charitable and voluntary organisations providing food and shelter for people living in extreme circumstances. It’s also worth remembering and checking up on people closer to home who might be spending a lonely Christmas and who would welcome a neighbourly chat or mince pie and glass of sherry.
It’s a good time too to stop and appreciate our good health, family and friends and think about all the people who’ve taken the trouble to remember us from one year to the next by sending us Christmas cards and greetings. There are so many worrying global issues which concern us all now that we should take stock and appreciate what we’ve got and not worry about what we would like.
Make it Easy
We all hear about and understand, the importance of ‘me’ time and mindfulness in this crazy age in which we live – and although it seems impossible when you’re up to your elbows in cooking Christmas pudding or picking up your children from dancing classes on a cold night, try to give yourself some time either during the festive season or in the New Year when we welcome in a new decade and whatever that may bring.
Make it Yours
So in summary, enjoy the parties, drinks, dinners, carol services, school plays, pantomimes, or whatever ‘floats your boat’ – we live in a beautiful world and you deserve to enjoy it!