Why is Christmas so stressful for some people?

A client told me recently: I don’t have enough money for small gifts for my children, and a Turkey for the adults. After some deliberation, and getting priorities in the right order, she made her decision, small gifts for the children and shepherd’s pie also for the children, their favourite meal, and the adults I asked? They are welcome to join us if they wish was her reply.

Christmas, is not only heavily commercialized, but has become a MUST go to family gathering, a false sense of joviality plays a role, the pressure is on, to match our favourite Disney film. Only those permitted not to attend are either in a coma or dead, anyone else NO EXCUSE.  Spending a fortune, which most can ill afford, on family members they have little in common with, creating a stressful environment, not forgetting resentment, being forced to do something they didn’t want to do in the first place.

So my next obvious question is, WHY?

Did you know little is recorded into domestic violence, and separation during the festive season? Sadly it is a common fact, re-lived often in therapy, on how children’s memories of Christmas are obliterated, and carried well into adulthood.

Many sessions are spent this time of year, with clients worrying about what they should do, or must do, but forget to ask themselves what they want to do, then acting on that decision.

If you feel forced, the term forced is unnatural, it is against your will.

If you feel obliged, the term obliged, is against your will.

If you feel guilty, this has been put on you by another, so once more it is against your will.

If you feel pressurized, yes, this also against your will.

So ask yourself – If any other time of the year you felt, forced, obliged, guilty, or pressurized, how would you react?

If you don’t enjoy this time of year, ask yourself why? You really do have all the answers, the problem is, when was the last time you had a self chat.

If family members really try your patience, how about shortening the time you spend with them, get it into your court, what suits you.

If you are visiting, the same rule applies, try short but sweet, regardless what other people have planned, their plans do not necessarily fit in with yours, so why do you carry out others expectations against your will?

For some families, Christmas is an all-day affair, equally in some families it is a 3-4 day event for those travelling to a family gathering.

Clients often complain that although they hold responsible jobs throughout the year, when they return home, especially it seems if they are single for some reason, they are treated like children. So the boundary between child and adult has not been recognised by the parent/parents.

Perhaps it is time to lay down your boundaries, plan your Christmas around you, the holiday season really does not need to be the most single awful time of your year, you have a voice, use it.

Merry Christmas

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