It’s only one week till Christmas and I am hoping it’s a total Christmas “Yeah!” for you this year!
Forever chatting to people I can often straight away separate the ones who can’t wait to smash Christmas, or the ones simply are looking forward enjoying a quiet one without too much hassle, from the ones that are literally dreading the build up to Christmas Day and are secretly counting the days until things are finally back to ‘normal’.
Like every year, it’s simply impossible to get away from the fact its nearly Christmas. The shops have been full of Christmas gear for months. Black Friday has yet again been rammed down our throats. On every radio station Mariah is letting us know for the zillionth time what she wants for Christmas and I have a feeling some of you out there are currently still getting over your annual Christmas party.
The festive season will always highlight what is going on RIGHT NOW in a person life. So if things are good right now, Christmas is almost guaranteed to be a corker! However if there are personal struggles; emotionally, financially or physically Christmas can be a total nightmare to get through without feeling emotional, isolated or low.
While I was decorating my children’s Christmas tree and having a good old Essy thinking session I realised it doesn’t really matter if we are on a fluffy Christmas cloud brushing our treasured baubles off or if we are trying hard to pretend Christmas isn’t happening this year because it’s too painful.
If the latter is your current situation – I do wish things were different for you – yes it’s 100% crappy right now – but I have every faith this too shall pass for you.
It really is okay some years of your lifetime not to be okay around the Christmas period you know. All I can say is try and take the pressure off and some of the expectations that will often only add to disappointment. I hope you will ride through Christmas this year as best as you can and next Christmas will be one full of joy and excitement again.
What I think does really matter EVERY YEAR around Christmas time and where we all can make a positive contribution, no matter in what place we find ourselves right now – happy or crappy – is to reach out to someone and show them that they matter this Christmas.
So here are my 6 top tips to improve someone else’s Christmas and by doing so they might make you feel instantly lots more Christmassy too!
1. Help a neighbour
Reach out to a (possibly elderly) neighbour. Ask them if they need something from the shops or help them decorate their tree so their environment has that cosy Christmas feel. My dear mother for example, every year makes a few extra Christmas art pieces and drops them off at the local care home.
2. Make Christmas dinner for someone else and drop it off
Don’t we all have that gift of cooking way too much on Christmas Day and therefore seem to be eating Christmas left overs for days on end? Why not find out if there is someone in your community who’d be happy with a plate of home cooked Christmas dinner on Christmas Day.
3. Make a couple of friendly phone calls
Make a few phone calls in the build up to Christmas to friends you’re aware are going through a difficult or transitional period. Just let them know you care. These friendly phone calls, voice messages or text messages can just be the medicine to keep someone going.
4. Spend the morning volunteering
It’s not to late to call around and volunteer for a few hours on Christmas Day.
5. Donate one of your gifts to someone
Not everyone is lucky to receive presents this year. I agree its always about presence and not presents but sometimes sharing yours can give someone that little lift to make their Christmas a much happier one.
6. Invite someone over for a Christmas drink
All I can add to this one is: “The more the merrier!”
Where am I at this year on the Christmas joy or dread scale?
I am right in the middle this year and tbh it feels just where I am suppose to be RIGHT NOW in my life. I have so many people and things I am truly happy with and grateful for. Healthy children, a loving relationship, a couple of truly amazing friends and my health. On top of that I finally feel I have a clear purpose and goal, which I am very excited to pursue.
Sadly I am not spending Christmas Eve and waking up with both my children on Christmas Day for the first year ever since they were born and this has been weighing a little heavy on my heart over the last couple of weeks. Not being able to give my offspring all they deserve this Christmas whilst they’ve both been total treasures all year long is making me feel guilty and a tad sad.
However I have chosen instead of dwelling on that feeling, realising there are people really struggling this year behind closed doors and reaching out to them with a gesture – no matter how big or small – has brought that Christmassy feeling back.
I just think, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all just do one act of kindness (or more) – and not just this Christmas – but bring these acts of kindness into the new year with us?
On that note I’d like to wish you all a peaceful and loving Christmas. May your bellies be filled, the hugs be a bit tighter and your hopes for future Christmases be filled with joy.
Photographer Alan A Andrew MUA Sharon Gertrude Ball Hair stylist Roxanne Brierley