By Abi Jackson
Feeling a little tense at the thought of Christmas? It’s ‘meant’ to be fun but the festive season can bring a lot of pressure, especially when it comes to family politics, trying to please everybody and spending money you really don’t have.
Many people have lost jobs or seen their income massively squeezed this year while their anxiety levels have soared, and the last thing anyone needs is a whacking great credit card bill and even more stress to add to the mix.
Yes, it’s been a humdinger of a tough year, and yes we could all do with a lovely Christmas – but that doesn’t have to mean being suffocated by pressure to spend your time and money in ways that really aren’t going to do your health and happiness any favours.
This year, perhaps what we really need is to give ourselves the gift of guilt-free joy. Give your overdraft and stress levels a break. After all, many of the best things about Christmas don’t cost very much really…
Struggled to remember which day it is for most of 2020? I bet you anything though, you’ll remember the lyrics to all those classic Christmas songs, even the ones you haven’t heard since 1989. Pop an Ultimate Christmas Hits album on and the world becomes instantly more dazzling and bright – like the star of Bethlehem in ditty form. Christmas kitchen karaoke, anyone?
Not the endless roster of social drinks (most of those will be cancelled this year anyway). I mean the actual things you drink at Christmas. I don’t really like Bailey’s. From mid-January through to mid-December, you’d never catch me drinking anything sweet and creamy. But come Christmas – couple of ice-cubes, double shot of the Irish cream liqueur and I’m happy as Larry. Tradition works in mysterious ways, and it’s oddly fun.
A Christmas walk is just different. Maybe it’s all that love and good cheer in the air. Or maybe, really, it’s because Christmas walks are extra high on smug factor – and we all love feeling smug.
Prising your arm out of the Quality Street tub for an hour or so to get outdoors for some fresh air definitely counts as a smug-worthy accomplishment. Check out those rosy cheeks, eh. (Just don’t get too cocky and attempt any star jumps in the snow, then spend the rest of Christmas on an orthopaedic ward… not my finest festive moment.)
The best Christmas movies are the ones you’ve seen a million times before, and preferably ones where families are doing awful things – like forgetting a child at home when they jet off on holiday, or blowing up the house because they got carried away with the roof lights. Nothing says Christmas like a good reminder of how troublesome families really are. (Oh calm down, they always make up and have a soppy moment at the end.)
Christmas food comas
The twisted, masochistic joy of a Christmas food coma… There’s always a few tense minutes where you think you might actually burst after speed-eating 48 roast potatoes, but once the palpitations have eased off, you know you’ll get through it, so long as you spend the next few hours horizontal (although god help us all when the sprouts make it through your system). At least this year we’re already fully on board with elasticated waistbands.