I always have a wee chuckle to myself with any annual event but this one is a classic… We know it’s coming. It’s not like..oh my god Christmas is when? Are you kidding! Nope we knew alllll year but yet you can feel the stress levels rising in the air as mild panic starts rippling across the streets.
I’m also heavily focused on it because annoyingly for my younger brother I was born on Christmas Day. If you don’t know me too well you will be lucky enough to escape the Becmas extravaganza and I’m not shy to admit I do love a good jingle bell rock! However as excited as I get about it, I realise not everyone shares my enthusiasm. And beyond my excitement I also peak out often, without warning and get squawky without real necessity.
The stress begins for many as we see the decorations going up in Westfield (hello 1 Nov!), hear Mariah belting out “All I want for Christmas” at Kmart with which you end up panic buying some barbells & a new flashing Rudolph for the front door & then Coles sticks a Heston ‘Hidden Orange’ chrissy pud on the end of every blimmen aisle so the pre chrissy diet is looking slipperier by the second.
As one attempts to cross off the mother of to do lists of cards, pressies, tress, lights, groceries, hols packing, appointments and coffee catch ups galore which simply MUST BE done before the big day you seem to wind yourself into an unnecessary spin – I remember two Christmases in a row I had a couple of oopsies ‘nudging’ into the back of some Nana cars because I was so busy planning how I could take on the world before the big day.
And down under – it’s hot. So you’re usually sweating up a storm, retreating to air con shops (smart on their part) and feeling a little bitter to those ‘o so organised ones’ parked up under their brollies at the beach. Hmph.
It also coincides well with monster hangovers. End of year parties where there are a few loose cabooses at the office send off and you pray as you wake up the next day reaching for your coconut water, it wasn’t you. Feeling dusty certainly does not add to the enjoyment of trawling about Target searching for the latest ‘Frozen’ accessory.
And then the day approaches and the catastrophizing train starts to build momentum about what may unfold. Will everyone get on? Will you have to be involved in back yard cricket? Will you have the same conversations you’ve had twelve years running with your long lost uncle and his 5/6th new partner? Will you overeat so much that you enter a food coma and then miss the little cousins pantomime (unlikely to be as choice as the one you used to do anyway).
So how can we take it from a stressmas to a chillmas? This year I have taken my overly honed organisational skills down a notch. I’m saying no to catch ups pre xmas if it’s going to get me in a flap. Some people couldn’t make my extremely early birthday celebrations (because squeezing into the diary of a Sydney lady is near imposs). That’s cool. I’ll see them next year. It’s not different from seeing them in November instead of October is it?
This all may sound a little selfish. And hey, isn’t Christmas all about selflessness and giving? Well, being in good spirits and enjoying yourself is selfless in my book. No one wants to hang out with a cray cray, tired, crabby pants! This is your time to reflect over the year that has been and celebrate with your family – whether it be your blood relies, your urban family or your newly acquired mates you have forced yourself upon on your random overseas mission.
There’s a great article on being an approval whore by Martha Beck where she suggests ‘holiday season’ is where our need for approval is at an all time high…“your efforts to please become truly exhausting and other people’s appreciation is less and less rewarding. If you feel drained or angry as the season progresses, it’s time to get off the street. Learn to respect yourself. Give yourself the gift of the real you, clean and sober”. Lets face it, you’re a much nicer person when you’re doing stuff you actually want to do, as opposed to forced. I get it. Some stuff you just have to do. But before you commit maybe take a moment to reflect & ask yourself – can it wait? Will I be better placed to do it next year with a refreshed frame of mind.
I’m not denying it, a huge element to a great chillmas is solid (but not hysterically anal) planning but it’s also considering saying no to your third espresso martini at the work office do after midnight, taking time out for meditation or exercise (no it is not illegal to exercise on Christmas Day), buying Christmas Mince pies unless you think you’re the next Masterchef and when you do one nice thing for someone, do one nice thing for yourself. You can also grant yourself a long nana nap, let annoying relie comments brush off you like teflon and spend a little time every day practicing some good old gratitude.
Christmas doesn’t have to be stressmas. It’s our choice what we say yes or no to and whether we choose to spend time catastrophising about what will or won’t happen. Enjoy the build up and the excitement – remember those feelings you had when you were a kid? Search those out! After all, Christmas only comes once a year.