Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year?

By Hannah Whitehead

When we think about the Christmas season, we are supposed to think of it as the most wonderful time of the year, the best month! Forget summer, forget spring but somehow the 6 or so weeks of the year that lead up to Christmas day (and the days following to NYE) are meant to be the most magical of the past 12 months? What if it isn’t that? What if this “Christmas magic” is just a facade to cover the unspoken isolation and loneliness that comes with the Christmas season. Not for everybody, but for some, there is a dreaded fear that comes with this oh so festive season and for various reasons. We are meant to be happy and cheerful and if we aren’t, we automatically feel guilty. Like we have done something wrong.

There is an undeniably huge pressure to be the most joyful person spreading Christmas cheer and magic where you go. You simply can’t get away from this season. The pressure to attend social events, like your works Christmas party or a family tradition such as going to see the pantomime or visiting Christmas markets, never mind Christmas day itself being the “biggest event of the year” and not forgetting quite possibly the biggest reminder that we are now in full blown Christmas season…social media. You may just be scrolling through your feed or even just having a quick look on your Instagram or Facebook and you will see someone’s “finally put up my tree, feeling festive!” post, or one of the many mums' elf of the shelf post! And you may possibly be that person sat at home, at work, in a car, on a bus, on a train that doesn’t have that festive spirit in them and scrolls right past the post without even a smile and why should we feel guilty for that?

There are several reasons why you may not be into this whole Christmas season, too many to go into detail. But if you are that person, there is one thing you should know - that there is absolutely 100% nothing wrong with how you are feeling. Christmas can be so isolating without us even realising. Everybody seems so happy and festive. The shops, the houses, even cars are being decorated whilst you’re reluctant to get out that tinsel. It can feel like the whole world and his dog are ready to celebrate whereas you’re just about getting through the month. Perhaps you are the one that gets called “scrooge” or “the grinch” because you aren’t showing that festive spirit that everyone else seems to have. However, has anyone ever stopped and asked “why?” or shown some concern or comfort and asked “if you are ok?”

This could be your reminder, to show that kindness; by asking someone would they like to go for a coffee? Would they like to come around for a catch up and dare I say it… some mulled wine?

The Christmas season is the most expensive time of the year with the average adult spending xyz (and this could be a reason why you aren’t into Christmas) but really, the best gifts are free (sorry not sorry to sound a tad cliché). We don’t have a budget or a limit of kindness we can show. There is no end, so show as much of that as possible. And who knows? You may just have made that one person who is feeling lonely this time of year, feel a whole lot better.

Possibly that’s what Christmas is all about, not about whose tree is looking the nicest, who got the most expensive present, who comes on top with their elf of the shelf ideas, who has been to the Christmas markets the most BUT showing love and kindness? Isn’t that the best present you can give?

Without realising, as a society, we have put so much pressure on Christmas being so great and magical that we have forgot what it is about, showing LOVE. Not showing off our presents, our decorations, but showing off our love to people. By being kind to others and just being that flicker of light that someone may just need.

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