Coming ready or not, Christmas is just about here.
Every year the decorations seem to arrive in the shops earlier, and the mound of deadlines to meet before you can relax and do Christmas looms larger. Maybe it's about getting older, but some years it seems much harder to get into that old Christmas spirit.
The kids on the other hand, just can't get into the swing of things fast enough. At the first sign of tinsel the build up starts. The wondering about gifts, the end of year wind up at school, the promise of summer and Christmas and holidays in one fantastic package deal. It all makes for a delicious sense of anticipation.
Do you remember feeling like that ? Is it anything like the way you feel about this particular 25th of December ? If you feel like the holiday doesn't really begin till Christmas is over and done with, you're not alone. You have lots of company if you feel that Christmas is full of burdens and things you have to do. But lots of us groaning at the prospect of Christmas doesn't make it any more enjoyable.
The question is, how do you want Christmas to be? It isn't going away. You can probably ignore Christmas, but you can be sure your kids won't, and most other folk won't either. You can put off doing anything about it till the last possible minute, and end up struggling with the Christmas Eve crowds as you frantically overspend on presents. Or you could start thinking about what it would take for you to really enjoy Christmas.
Kids have a gift for having fun. They are an excellent place to start. Just notice what they enjoy about the festive season. Ask them about it. They are generous sharers of good times. Paying attention to what works for your kids will probably be an entertainment in its own right. It may even give you some clues about what you would enjoy. You could invent a way of celebrating Christmas that actually feels good to you.
You might like to think about what you are celebrating. Or perhaps it might be more helpful to think about what you'd like to celebrate. What values or events or feelings mean something to you ? Are there achievements or efforts you would like to applaud ? There might be qualities in your kids, your friends or family that you'd like to praise or memories you'd like to share.
Your celebration might be about having some time to rest, to relax and enjoy yourselves, to spend time together, to get yourselves ready to launch into a new year.
Build your celebration around what ever is important and enjoyable for you and the people you'll be with. You can abandon the Christmas rule book and do it anyway you please.
If your usual Christmas feels like a straight jacket, design a Christmas to suit you. If you like the plan for the day, then maybe you won't spend the whole of December wishing it was over.
If you would like help to negotiate Christmas with your family, contact Relationships Aotearoa on 0800 735 283 or your local office which is listed in the telephone directory.