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Christmas - pleasure or pain?

You see most people getting excited leading up to Christmas, enjoying the bustle of shopping to buy treats for loved ones and Christmas parties and gatherings. However, not everyone loves Christmas. Before you shout ‘Grinch!’ in full pantomime style, just hear me out.

Some people may have lost loved ones, and it may be their first Christmas without them (see my blog on grief and loss). Some people suffer with social anxiety, and just the thought of going out to a gathering gives them jitters and tummy ache just thinking about it (check out my blog on anxiety). Some may be dreading Christmas as they just don’t have enough disposable income right now, to pay for the extra food, drink, socialising and presents. Some people may have been trying to abstain from alcohol, or have been trying really hard to keep their consumption under control, and all of a sudden there is a huge pressure and expectation on them to drink and ‘be merry’ along with others - with those who are lucky enough for it not to mean that they’ll go into a downward spiral that sees them having to start over their recovery all over again. Or some people simply just can’t stand the anti-climax or feelings of disappointment that come after, and dread the seemingly long cold and gloomy months of January and February.

The guilt people may feel if they aren’t in the Christmas spirit along with everyone else can add to their feelings of sadness and isolation, further deepening the despair they feel. They may ask themselves ‘What’s wrong with me? Why can I just be like everyone else and enjoy Christmas?’

In today’s climate where we are told to ‘be kind’, just give a thought to those that do not enjoy the Christmas period, consider that they may have many reasons and battles going on that you would never know. Don’t be too quick to call someone a ‘Grinch’, or pressure someone to have a drink, they may be grappling with something inside that you are lucky not to have to experience. In the true Christmas spirit, remember the phrase ‘Goodwill to all’.

From Avon Counselling, we wish you a heartfelt Merry Christmas and wish you love, peace and happiness for the New Year.

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