What sort of celebration would you prefer?

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

This was the topic of the latest Psychologies Magazine ten question quiz and obviously relates to that time of year we are hurtling towards that includes stresses and pressure.

My responses were almost even across the board between simplified, soulful and connected.  I didn’t score anything as personalised. Simplified came out the leader but only by one point.  The summary of that read:

“If you feel overwhelmed by the consumerism and consumption of the festive season, you may have secretly relieved last year when lockdown put a limit on the usual excesses.  You understand the value of creating a time of joy and celebration in the depths of winder, but wonder how and when it all spiralled out of control and you got sucked into a Christmas period that serves up mainly expense and fatigue, emotionally and physically.

It’s not easy admitting that all the traditional seasonal hoo-ha leaves you cold – no one wants to be seen as a Scrooge.  But if you really don’t want to start another year feeling financially stretched, out of balance and exhausted from all the excess, isn’t it time to acknowledge those feelings and seek a simpler experience?

You may be aware that it’s not just you that feels the impact of all the festive busyness, and that others around you are also overwhelmed by the pressure we have somehow come to accept as unavoidable at this time of year.  Simplifying your Christmas starts with thinking about how you want to feel rather than what you want to do. In essence, a simpler Christmas is a more conscious Christmas, with time to savour moments of joy and connection.  The first step is to share your feelings with loved ones – you might find you’re not the only one who feels this way and craves a new way of doing things.”

Christmas 2020, for so many was very different from what they may perhaps have done traditionally. We couldn’t have the annual family gathering that celebrates both Christmas and my Dad’s birthday, so there was no traditional car boot swap of presents.  Instead, there was a different kind of pressure.  But it almost felt that because we couldn’t get together, extra effort had to be made in order to make everyone feel connected.  We couldn’t get to see R for Christmas for the first time ever.  Her and her flatmate were stranded in Surrey.  Luckily neither of them could go home so at least they had each other for company.

This year we are able, at the moment anyway, to have the annual gathering and the great car boot swap, so I’ve arranged lunch for 13 people.  I just hope that the over exuberance of being together doesn’t spill over into excesses of gift giving (see my blog post of a few days ago about joining the CASG).

R is still going to be stranded in Surrey, but thankfully that’s because of work commitments.  Her flatmate is heading home to his folks.  She’ll be working all Christmas Eve and there won’t be any public transport for her to be able to get back home to us.  She has to be at work again on the Monday.  So we’ve decided to book into a hotel nearby and go down on Christmas Eve, meet her after work and spend the evening with her, probably over a takeaway.  We’ve booked for all of us to have Christmas Day dinner at the hotel and Boxing Day lunch too as we suspect there won’t be that many places open, and her flat is a bit small for all of us to be cooking a big meal in.  We’ll be able to go for lovely walks along the river and spend some quality time with her.  She’s not into the whole fuss thing either, so it’ll be a low key affair, with us enjoying some down time, relaxing, without over indulging in excess of partying, drinking and eating and present giving.  We all know what we’ll be giving and getting each other as we’ve all put in specific requests, and none of us needs all the additional frippery.

I’m looking forward to a low key affair, with the indulgence of being in a hotel for a couple of nights.  I am grateful to all those hotel workers, bar staff, kitchen staff, table staff, room servicing staff, and everyone who gives up their Christmas with family to wait on other people who don’t want to do it for themselves.  I shall make a point of leaving generous tips in gratitude.

Are you planning a low key affair, or full of excess?


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