The Christmas frenzy is building and we are all hurtling towards December 25 looking forward to all the overindulgences it brings.
For lots of people though this time of year can be hard as it has a nasty habit of shining a huge Christmas light on difficult issues.
Grief, loss, troubled relationships and money issues can appear much worse at Christmas time and it doesn’t help that advertisements constantly show perfect families having a perfect Christmas.
Want a fab Christmas? You must have this 12 foot Norweigian pine, a gigantic turkey, stacks of presents and a herd of beautiful children.
The more you spend the better your Christmas is the myth they churn out. But we all know, and they know as well, it’s all a big fat lie. No one has a perfect Christmas.
Some people may have a nice day, chances are there will probably be underlying issues like family tensions or stress. Others will be grappling with chronic mental health issues such as anxiety and depression leaving them unable to cope; a lot of us will sit somewhere between.
These Christmas television adverts selling us this lie do nothing to help anyone struggling over the next few weeks.
I am really looking forward to Christmas, but like so many other people it can be a tricky time.
I always miss my Mum much more than any other day of the year. My Dad will go to her graveside on Christmas morning like he has done for the past two decades.
Like many people operating in ‘blended families’ I don’t get to spend the whole day with my son – he won’t arrive until the afternoon.
These issues, however, pale into insignificance compared to the many difficult things some of my friends are facing right now. The recent loss of loved ones, ill health, relationship break-downs and financial hardships to name a few.
And many other people don’t have a roof over their heads or any family at all, I know I am very lucky indeed.
So how do you keep your head above water this Christmas?
Maybe the key is to see those adverts for what they really are; manipulative tools aimed at persuading us to part with our money.
Perhaps we could also try to avoid putting too much pressure or expectation on the day; focus on some self care and be kind to ourselves.
Take Christmas for what it is, a religious celebration for some or a chance to eat chocolate and drink Prosecco at 11am for others – or both.
Most importantly don’t sit at home thinking everyone else is having the ‘TV ad’ Christmas; even if they did buy stacks of presents and that huge tree they are struggling along and doing their best just like the rest of us.
Merry Christmas everyone.