How to deal with Christmas. Navigating the festive spectrum

image shows a fed up woman pulling a santa hat down over her face, had enough of Christmas

The experience of Christmas varies wildly for different people…

As the festive season approaches, the air becomes filled with the anticipation of joy and merriment, for a lot of people. However, Christmas varies enormously for everyone, and not everyone loves it. So how to deal with Christmas if it’s not really your bag. Or even if it IS your bag?! It can be a bit much for anyone…

Whether you find yourself revelling in the solitude of a quiet holiday or immersed in the chaos of a bustling family gathering, a bit of preparation can make Christmas easier. Let’s explore the unique aspects of various Christmas scenarios and how to make the most of each.

Christmas alone and happy about it

For those who choose to spend Christmas solo, the holiday can be a peaceful and rejuvenating experience. Embrace this time for self-reflection and self-care. You probably don’t need any advice, but if you get bored. Maybe consider creating your own traditions, like a cozy movie marathon or indulging in your favourite festive foods. Use the solitude to recharge and focus on personal well-being. Enjoy the fun that can be found in being your own best company.

Christmas alone and not happy about it

Feeling isolated during the holidays can be challenging, but there are things you can do. Reach out to friends or neighbours for a low-key gathering, or join community events. Volunteering at local charities can provide a sense of purpose and connection. Embrace the spirit of giving, even if it’s just your time and company. Also investigate local pubs – many offer Christmas Lunch bookings with tables specifically for singletons.

Online you might find groups or chats where you can buddy up with other people who are alone. And there’s always good old TV. Snuggle down with a good film, a massive tub of Quality Street, and just wait for it to be over!

Christmas with family and happy about it

Celebrating Christmas with family brings a special warmth and shared joy. But it can be a lot! Keeping everyone busy will help make things run well. Plan activities that everyone can enjoy, from decorating the tree together to engaging in festive games. Capture the spirit of togetherness by organizing a family potluck or secret Santa gift exchange. Cherish the moments of laughter and connection. Take photos and store mental memories to last you over more difficult times.

Read more: How do people around the world mark Christmas?

Christmas with family and dreading the madness

On the flip side, the prospect of a chaotic family gathering can be overwhelming. Set realistic expectations and communicate openly about responsibilities. Consider assigning tasks to each family member to alleviate the burden on one person. Plan activities that cater to different interests and ages to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time. Embrace imperfections, as the true magic of Christmas lies in the shared moments, no matter how chaotic they may be.

If you’re the one who finds the Christmas circus too much, make sure you carve out some time for yourself. If you’ve got the type of family that understands the concept of ‘quiet time’, then great. If not, plan strategically. Can you ‘escape’ to do errands? Volunteer for jobs that take you out of the picture for a while? Find a way to hide for a few hours?! Think of ways to protect yourself and then when you do actually need to engage with the crazy, you’ll be stronger for it.

Hosting Christmas and dreading the responsibility

Being the host can be both rewarding and challenging. Plan ahead by creating a detailed checklist and delegating tasks to willing family members or friends. Encourage family members to bring parts of the meal ‘to the table.’ For example, can you all divvy up different courses? Or could someone organise the crackers and drinks?

You don’t have to do everything, and nobody should expect that. Plan ahead and get everyone involved. Embrace the help of technology for planning and organising, from virtual invites to online shopping or task lists. Remember that perfection is not the goal; creating a welcoming and joyful atmosphere is what matters most. And that you don’t have to do it all.

Not doing Christmas and happy about it

Choosing to opt out of the traditional Christmas festivities is entirely valid. Some people just hate it. For others it’s just the wrong religious celebration! Whatever the reason, Christmas isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, whatever the Coca-Cola marketing team would have you believe.

If it’s not your bag, you could just crack on with your own life. Or you could feasibly use this time to relax and engage in activities that bring you joy. To be fair, if you live in the western world, most of everything shuts down from about 23rd Dec, so when better to take some time out?

Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a spa day, or simply enjoying a good book, relish in the freedom of a Christmas-free schedule. Reflect on what truly makes you happy and create a holiday season that aligns with your values and desires.

Not doing Christmas and sad about it

If this is you, we totally get that this is really hard. If circumstances prevent you from celebrating Christmas as usual, acknowledge your feelings and seek support. Connect with friends or family members for a virtual celebration or consider participating in local events.

Allow yourself to grieve what cannot be and focus on finding moments of joy and connection in alternative ways. Remember, it’s okay to feel sadness during the holidays, and seeking support can make a significant difference.

Doing something completely wild like going abroad and ignoring Christmas altogether

The biggest hurdle many people will face here is dealing with other people’s expectations. Particularly if a family Christmas is a time honoured tradition, or you have commitments that you normally honour at this time of year. To announce that you have alternative plans may well ruffle some feathers. So be mindful of other people’s disappointment if you’re thinking of not being around. Particularly if you have kids, or grandkids, however old they are.

For those seeking a unique escape from traditional holiday celebrations, going abroad offers a thrilling alternative. However, this choice comes with its own set of challenges. Plan ahead for potential cultural differences, availability of services, high cost of travel, and be prepared for a non-traditional Christmas experience.

Preparing for Christmas involves understanding and embracing the unique circumstances of your situation. Whether you find solace in solitude, joy in family gatherings, or adventure in unconventional celebrations, the key is to prioritize what brings you happiness and fulfilment. As the holiday season unfolds, may your Christmas be filled with the warmth of love, the joy of shared moments, and the peace that comes from celebrating in a way that resonates with your heart.

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