Social media, as we all know, can be something of a double-edged sword. Having a window into the lives of those around us can serve as a way to connect with each other, to garner inspiration from our family and friends, to share in the highs and lows of life and everything in between. But it can also be a place where jealously resides, where feelings of inadequacy grow, where divisions are deepened. When it comes to Christmas, this can be the case more than at any other time of year.
As some people spend hundreds (or even thousands) on a souped-up Christmas with elaborate light displays adorning the front of their houses, extravagant advent calendars, jam packed Christmas Eve boxes and so many presents all sight of the floor is lost, others take the extreme opposite approach, marking the religious (be that Christian or Pagan) festival sparsely with minimal fuss and an entirely different focus. I’d wager that most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes but regardless of where we fall on the tinsel spectrum, it can be easy to feel guilty for not doing “enough” or for doing “too much” at this time of year.
You Do You
So this is your annual reminder that however you celebrate Christmas, is perfect for you and your family. This year, you do you. The reasons behind the choices others make when it comes to celebrating the festive season are many and varied; they might be on a tight budget this year, they could be celebrating a new job or promotion, they might be navigating loss and trying to keep the whole affair low key to manage, they might be throwing a hell of a party to mitigate grief and remember a loved one that way, they might want to keep things restrained to help a child who struggles with anticipation and excitement, they might want to spoil some kids who have been through a lot recently.
Time, not Tinsel. Presence, not Presents
At the end of the day, only two things matter when it comes to this time of year. Time spent with the people you love, and being present during that festive time. If you think back to your childhood Christmases, I bet that a lot of your memories aren’t about the things you got but rather the things you did and the people you did them with. I remember freezing walks on Dartmoor followed by warming drinks around a fire, my Mum’s chocolate log (complete with plastic robin and holly leaf) and the joy of singing Christmas carols in a candlelit hall before eating shop bought mince pies. Take a minute to think back now and see what you remember.
This year, focus on what matters. It doesn’t matter if you’ve not been able to afford all the presents you wanted to get your kids, it doesn’t matter if you think you might have overbought. It’s not a problem if you reject the traditional Christmas dinner and opt for burgers instead, it’s not too predictable if you’ve gone for a three-in-one bird roast with all the trimmings. No one is judging you if you don’t go in for Christmas Eve boxes. Equally, no one is judging you if you do!
This year, stop second-guessing yourself, stop worrying about what you have or haven’t done. Try to relax and enjoy a special few days when time stops and all that matters is the here and now, the smiles on your kids faces, the laughter that ensues from those terrible cracker jokes, the feeling you get when you’re truly present with those you care most about.
So however and wherever these words find you, from all of us at The Outdoors Group, we wish you a very peaceful and joyous Christmas and winter break. For those of you that will be finding it particularly hard this year, we hope that you find support in those around you and manage to find some pleasures, no matter how small. Have a fantastic break folks, whatever you do, and we can’t wait to see you all again in the New Year!