Christmas isn’t what it was centuries years ago.
There aren’t even many comparisons with the festive period 50 years ago.
Though Christmas is a different beast nowadays, there are aspects of the most famous of public holidays that we still cherish: family time, opening of gifts, glorious over-indulgence, and the potential for capturing the perfect winter images. There is plenty to look forward to, and for millions Christmas is the quintessential festive family holiday. Think: roaring fires, gathering around the TV for an afternoon film, and (dare we say it) garish Christmas jumpers. So far, so idyllic.
But stop right there for a moment. We don’t want to put the dampers on the perfect picture above, but for many people, Christmas isn’t a time of the year that yields such categorical enjoyment. Some people shudder in horror at the mere mention of Christmas, and are happiest when the whole rigmarole is over for another eleven months.
And that could be precisely the reason why Christmas isn’t for everyone: it isn’t a single day, let alone a few well-deserved days’ time off. The spirit of Christmas, arguably, begins when the first festive adverts appear in the media, which is usually just after the Halloween/ Bonfire Night shenanigans. That’s seven weeks before the 25th December…with another two weeks to follow for the Christmas “down time”. That’s a lot days…
Christmas can – and often is – a hectic time. No wonder businesses advertise Christmas party venues as early as August, or reserving turkeys in autumn. Travelling to loved ones nearer the day can be stressful and expensive. Disruptions and late-minute shopping are challenging. Buying gifts is usually a pleasant enough experience, but during December, eager shoppers compete with each other on busy high streets and jam-packed shopping centres. As an example, the Trafford Centre in Manchester has an annual footfall of 30 million – well over the population of Australia. Think how many of those millions shop there – at just one shopping centre – in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Hardly peaceful, is it? Prefer to buy online? Fair enough, but products can arrive late or simply get lost in the continuous stream of deliveries. And that’s before the wrapping paper is brought out. For those who want help in staying calm over the period, read our guide to a stress-free Christmas.
So, Christmas can be traumatic and not good on the wallet. Christmas is all about family, though, right? Correct, but how many people in the UK have separated from their loved ones for different reasons? How many individuals suffer from loneliness and dread Christmas?
Those people who don’t look forward to Christmas do so with different reasons. They shouldn’t be judged, but maybe you could do something to make their time memorable. Don’t ignore friends who chose to shun Christmas. It’s not all about shiny-wrapped presents, Christmas trees and rich food. A simple text, phone call or visit could make someone’s day, or why not arrange to pop over with a homemade treat?
As huge as Christmas has become, it’s usually the smaller things in life that make it all worthwhile.