Time to stop letting Christmas take you by surprise (again) this year.
I know it’s not December, but it is the last week of November, which is a great time to plan and talk about Christmas.
Christmas is a perfect example of how Western society can take a wonderful idea and develop it into a frenzy of over-doing and over-spending that can leave you feeling hungover – literally, energetically and financially. Your other option is to be a Scrooge, hate Christmas, and attempt to ignore it completely.
My next few blogs will be on things like joyful gift giving, celebrating with those who we are geographically separated from, knowing how much is enough, and dealing with awkward conversations in these politically divisive times.
But we need to start with how we want it to end.
Plan the Plan
To prevent the hangovers, the answer is, as always, to plan. So now that we have about a month to go, mull this question over:
- Are my Christmas traditions still working for me?
Even if you love how you do Christmas, it’s useful to check in with this question. After all, things change. Families change shape and size, health conditions come and go, people re-locate to new houses. What was wonderful when it began can become something that drags you down and may need changing up.
But what about the other people that you share Christmas with? What if they love the way things are? Good News: There’s still time to talk with them before Christmas happens.
Talk the Talk
No way round this one, I’m afraid. If the idea of talking to family about changing how you do Christmas freaks you out, think of it like this: Maybe it doesn’t work for anyone, and you’re all carrying on anyway, each thinking that the others don’t want to change.
Maybe you’re killing yourself to provide a knock-out Christmas, and everyone else would be totally zen with either scaling Christmas back, or taking on some of the work themselves.
Or maybe they would like Christmas to be more of a special day, but the traditional ways of celebrating don’t feel right. Scrabble tournament and margaritas with your found family, maybe?
I can’t coach you through an earpiece for the entire conversation, but I can give you some opening lines:
“I’ve been thinking about Christmas, and how in the past it’s left me feeling (exhausted / overwhelmed / broke / lonely / whatever it is that you want to change.) This year, I’d like to avoid that, and I was wondering if it would work for you if we…. (insert new way of doing things here).”
This may be one of those conversations that take some time and coming back to.
One way to work through different wants and needs around Christmas celebrations is for everyone to answer the question “It’s not Christmas without….” And then figure out how to make sure everyone has that thing that makes it special for them.
And leaves everyone feeling joyful / rested / calm / delighted.