Regular readers will know that any form of mandated celebration, for whatever reason, makes my hackles rise.
I find it ludicrous that we ‘must’ have fun on specific days of the year and if we don’t we somehow feel that we have failed, not only ourselves, but the people we love, and sometimes even the wider community.
I have, in the past, and will continue in the future, to be called a killjoy for expressing this sentiment.
I find it ironic then, how much stress and misery I see on my social media feeds and amongst the people I interact with on a daily basis at the moment. I find it deeply, deeply ironic that many of these people who tell me that I am a killjoy will probably spend several days over the coming fortnight actively being very stressed, tearful, and in some cases downright miserable.
All in the name of forcibly being happy and celebrating.
I, on the other hand, am not in the slightest bit stressed about Christmas, or New Year or any other day on which I am told I must have fun. The reason for this is that it is just another day. It really is one, single solitary day, and one single, solitary day is very much like any other.
You do not have to place such a weighty expectation on yourself or anyone else. If you choose to do it, that’s fine, but you do not have to do it.
I hate the fact that people forget to celebrate the everyday brilliance of stuff. If I wake up on a Friday feeling great, I like to celebrate it, regardless. If I wake up on a Friday feeling shitty and I feel it could be improved, sometimes I celebrate it to improve it. It doesn’t have to be my birthday, or Christmas, or Easter or whatever. It’s just a day, like any other, and it can be a great day or not.
Here are my foolproof plans for not getting stressed about Christmas. Apart from thinking it’s just one day of many that is:
Don’t send cards. Donate to charity instead. It’s more in the spirit of things. It’s kinder to the environment and it stops you having to spend every penny on stamps, which are now more expensive than gold.
Don’t wrap anything unless you absolutely have to. It’s kinder to the environment, it totally destresses Christmas Eve and it’s what stockings and pillow cases were invented for.
Don’t eat turkey unless you actually like it. It is tasteless, unpleasant and takes forty five hours to cook for one meal. One meal.
My amazing tip for Christmas food is, eat whatever makes you happy. Eat what you all like. Do not crouch round a pot of brandy butter forcing it down if you don’t actually like it. Ditto sprouts etc. Why do that to yourselves on a day when you’re supposed to be happy? One year we had fish fingers and potato waffles. It was bloody excellent.
Order everything you want to buy online. Do not set foot in a shop for the purpose of buying gifts at any point between mid November and Christmas. Save yourself the hellish grind. It’s not worth it.
If your child wants the must have toy, give them an IOU if it is out of stock. It’s not worth the stress for something that will be out of fashion in six months time and in the charity shop in twelve. Trust me. You will see the look of joy in their eyes when they open the other 436 presents you have bought them.
Be with people you love. End of. Life is too short for duty and feuding. Truly it is. Be brutal but be happy.
If you do not have new Christmas pyjamas or new Christmas this or that, nobody actually gives a crap except you, so if it is stressing you out, don’t do it and cut yourself some slack.
Basically, my tip for surviving Christmas boils down to understanding what makes you happy, and then doing it.
Trust me. It’s a revelation.