Here we are again in December. For many of us that means Christmas.

Whilst there are no decorations in my office, (there are some mince pies in my drawer), Christmas is very much part of the work with my clients at the moment.

Christmas is everywhere we turn. There are decorations, lights, music, adverts,  shops brimming with gift suggestions and food. This year in particular it feels to me that it started even earlier than usual.  I’ve overheard several flustered parents warning their offspring that “Santa is watching”.

For many, Christmas is an opportunity to take a break from work, spend time with family and can be a happy time with loved ones. This is perhaps an expectation that we have about how Christmas “should” be. So what about when it doesn’t  meet that expectation?  Christmas is often a difficult time. Many people have financial worries and the expectations around Christmas create additional anxiety or worry. Not all families are happy and harmonious and Christmas get togethers can be a time of tensions and frustrations. You may not want to spend Christmas with family as you have in previous years but be too afraid of reactions from others if you dare to say no.

Christmas can be particularly difficult if we are missing someone. It may be that you have lost a loved one and are facing Christmas with an empty seat at the dinner table. It may be that you are coparenting following a separation and that your children are spending Christmas with their other parent.

We all need to be mindful that those around us may not be facing a happy, picture perfect Christmas.  Some may be dreading it and feel hurt by “bah humbug” comments.  We need to look after ourselves too. I often saying to clients, “do Christmas your way”.  In previous years when faced with Christmas without our children,  my husband and I decided to break with tradition and expectation and have a seafood picnic on the lounge floor. This of course didn’t make up for the time we would have preferred to spend with our children, and didn’t mean that it wasn’t painful, but it meant that we chose to do something we enjoyed.

I hope that you are all able to enjoy Christmas in your own way, doing at least one thing that brings you some happiness. I hope that you can take the opportunity to rest. Christmas is actually only one day of the year. Try not to pay too much attention to expectations and “shoulds”. Try to be kind to yourselves and each other.

See you on the other side

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