It’s OK Not to Love Christmas
I hate Christmas – there I’ve said it!
And I have done for many years, but more so since I went to India.
I was working in the corporate world in a high powered job as a project manager when I decided to step away, take a six month sabbatical and immerse myself fully in all things Yoga.
So I went to India.
After a ten day silent meditation retreat, I spent six weeks at Krishnamachrya in Chennai training in Yoga philosophy and Vedic chanting before meeting up with a friend three months later to travel around India. We spent three weeks in the south of the country on boats, visiting tea plantations and exploring Varkala where we experienced a whole host of wonderful Ayurvedic treatments.
So, to say I was chilled is an understatement.
And then I came back to the UK just before Christmas, and I really came down to earth with a bump.
In India there is poverty, that’s a fact, but there’s also so much joy and happiness. People enjoy the simple things in life, they are so happy with what they’ve got.
So, when my family came over and the children were showered with gifts, many of which they didn’t seem particularly bothered about, and there was so much food that we couldn’t eat it all, I felt really ashamed if I’m honest.
And I think there may be more people who think like me than will every admit it.
Over the Christmas period, people in the UK create approximately 30% more waste than they do at any other time of the year. And according to research by London Cleaning System that includes around 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussel sprouts, as well as enough wrapping paper to go around the equator nine times and enough card packaging to cover Big Ben 260,000 times.
Christmas is an annual environmental disaster that has become a monster fed by commercialism.
The amount of debt that is run up in the UK at Christmas is mind boggling, and all for one day. I’ve heard of some people who are still paying for Christmas the following July. Is it really worth it? I think not.
Television adverts like the one recently released by The Range don’t help at all, fuelling the competitive nature of Christmas, the ‘need’ to have more and more, the extravagance, the expectations.
“Anything you can do, I can do better” – the pressure that puts on people to spend, spend, spend is immense, but why? It’s one day. The shops are often open on Boxing Day so where’s the need to stock up? Why is it necessary to buy expensive gifts for distant relatives who you have nothing in common with and don’t see at any other time of the year?
And it’s worth saying that the enforced jollity, debt and family obligations and expectations often result in disaster. It’s a sobering thought that Christmas can be a devastating time for some – the person all alone, the young man who feels he should have a partner at Christmas, the ex-servicemen suffering from PTSD, the depressed young mum. Christmas can be the end of the world for some. My sister this year is running a Christmas day event at an old people’s home so that no-one has to be home alone. There are also other great charities like the Heads Together campaign and blurtitout.org doing some fantastic work in raising the profile of mental health and making people aware of facts such as the thing that’s most likely to kill a man under 45 in the UK is himself.
And did you know that the incessant Christmas music playing in shops for months before the actual day can also be detrimental to mental health too.
“People working in the shops at Christmas have to [tune out] Christmas music, because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else. You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
– Linda Blair, Clinical Psychologist
In my day to day work, I work with women to help them to listen to themselves, tune in to their bodies and identify their wants and needs, so for me it really goes against the grain that some people have to ‘tune out’ just to maintain their mental wellbeing at Christmas.
So, for me and my family, Christmas is a very low key affair.
My Dad never really liked Christmas, but went along with it anyway, and now loves nothing more than spending Christmas at home with his partner enjoying a nice dinner, just something simple.
And we like to head off somewhere sunny away from all the madness to be together as a family, have time and space and adventures. It’s the family time, experiences and the memories that we are making for us and little G that are important, not the gifts, the turkey and the tree. After all, little G was a December baby so we don’t want to go overboard; it’s always nice for him to have things later in the year rather than all together at Christmas.
I would like to invite you to just spend a few minutes in the busy build up to Christmas to take a little bit of time out to think about what Christmas means to you. Listen in and see what comes through for you. Letting go of what doesn’t serve you about Christmas and focusing in more on what you love to celebrate about Christmas ,what feels right for you, what brings you joy. To help provide you with some space for connection and calm in the run up to Christmas I am running a special #12DaysofCalm on social media with some ideas for simple practices that can help you stay cool, calm and connected at this often hectic time.
Do Christmas your way don’t be one of those people who says, “Glad that’s all over for another year”.
For me, it’s simple – it’s spending time with family and friends, enjoying time together and making memories without eating too much, spending too much or taking any notice of the expectations of others. What is about Christmas for you?
Whatever you are up to I hope you have a fabulous time.
If you want to make real changes in your life to give your body more love, you’re concerned about your long term health and wellbeing or you feel you need some nurturing allwoman support, please get in touch.
I specialise in working with women one to one and enjoy being part of their journey of reconnection and self-discovery. I support women to find more balance and harmony in their lives by deepening their inner connection to their own body’s needs, helping them cope pre-conception, with fertility issues, prenatally, postnatally or during times of transition, grief or loss and helping alleviate the symptoms of menstruation, perimenopause or menopause.