Hello and happy December, readers! This year, I’m very aware of how big this month is and how it affects our lifestyles and mental health. See, I’m a huge lover of Christmas because of the hygge feel of it all, but my partner hates it! And I can understand why, even though it makes me a little sad. So that got me thinking of 5 important things to remember this holiday season.
If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere then you’ll be just getting into winter right now and I’m sure the holiday season is in full swing; darker days, snow falling, weekend markets, twinkling lights, warm fires, steaming hot chocolates, mulled wine and just a general cosy feel to life. Here, in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere, December looks a little different; days at the beach, paddleboards out, bbqs on, weekend drinks and the smell of suncream in the air. Nope, Christmas is NOT the same. But hey, this post applies wherever you are in the world.
It’s not all about money
First important thing to remember this holiday season: your family and friends appreciate you! And they will love you no matter what you give them (if anything!!!). You don’t need to get yourself into debt to show someone you care. Sometimes just showing up is enough.
A lot of people just spend, spend, spend over the holidays because it’s what we have been conditioned to do. It’s what we see all around us through other people doing it, and crafty marketing and advertisements. But you don’t need to worry about getting the best of everything for every single person you know. If you’re a little strap on cash, please don’t fret about gifts. Do what you can, even if it’s something as simple (yet delicious) as giving a chocolate bar or their favourite tea as a present.
People are struggling, be kind
It’s vital that we remember that not everyone can have the Christmas they deserve and December will be the hardest month of the year for them. There are people out there who don’t have much and will be suffering, so it would be amazing if we could all be a little more compassionate and supportive. Let’s not show off all our new gadgets and make others feel poor for not being able to afford it. Let’s offer our hand to anyone who might need a little something that we can give, be that money, our time, our ears or our expertise.
In many cases, men will be feeling extra pressures as they try to bring in more money just to keep up with the trends, to buy all the new toys for their kids. Working that hard can take its toll, especially if the work isn’t fairy compensated. A lot of women will be working hard as well as planning the whole week out; the food, the gifts, the organization, the company. Others may be struggling over this time after having lost loved ones and it’s their first Christmas without them etc. Just…. be gentle with everyone you meet over the holiday season.
It’s a time to slow down and celebrate
“‘Tis the season to be jolly!”. Seriously! This time of year shouldn’t be stumbled through feeling stressed and anxious about it all playing out. Unfortunately for us, today’s society runs off people rushing to and fro, and worrying about this and that. Thanks, capitalism.
But did you know that Christmas-time dates back to paganism and other cultures? It was all about celebrating the darkest day and nature’s cycle by appreciating the earth and each other. The holiday, though turned Christian, should still be a peaceful, celebratory, reflective time. So take a break, slow down, and have some fun… everything doesn’t have to be so serious all the time.
Overconsumption is worse around this time of year
Household waste typically increases by around 30% during the festive period, making it one of the most wasteful times of the year.lesswaste.co.uk
This is such an important thing to remember this holiday season. The Earth suffers the most over December and January because of over-consumption. Which makes me so sad. Governments and corporations are greedy (insert bad descriptive word here) who make an insane amount of money over this time. They thrive off our spending, our stressing, our over-indulging and consuming.
If each of us is mindful of what we do/buy over Christmas then we can cut down the waste that comes out at the other end of the holiday. How, you may ask? Well, you could make your presents a little more eco-friendly (see this guide to help). Stay away from as much plastic decorations as you can. You could only buy what you need, food wise. People tend to go food-mad over this time. You could also make sure you recycle everything that is recyclable so more things are given a second life. And order less things online, so that there aren’t as many deliveries made.
Not everyone will be into Christmas
In the spirit of being kind, don’t forget to be inclusive; some people don’t celebrate the same holidays as you. Celebrating Christmas isn’t exclusively a Christian thing, but it’s still widely celebrated for Jesus’s birthday. So whatever religion you follow, keep in mind that people will be partaking in the festivities for various reasons, or not celebrate at all.
Some choose not to buy into the holiday at all but will be forced to deal with it all around them. So again, the message is to be gentle and non-judgmental. And whether you have similar or different beliefs to your friends and family, try not to ruin the day by bringing it up and making people feel awkward and defensive about their views.
If you or anyone you know are struggling, reach out to people around you, or hit up people like Befrienders who are there to listen.
Do you agree that these are all important things to remember this holiday season? Can you think of any more ways we can be better around this time of year?
Until Next Time,