There’s no denying that this is going to be a Christmas like no other.
Some of us are already feeling the usual pre-holiday tension but this year we also have the added ‘coronanxiety’ and we are left feeling confused and a bit unsure of how this year’s festivities are going to pan out.
Many of us are feeling quite conflicted, is it safe for us to join with other households and if we do, will there be a price to pay in January? Also if we do decide to spend it with others, how can we avoid family arguments when we are making our choices about who to spend it with?
This year is different in so many ways. With the current situation keeping many of us apart, I wanted to look at this from the other angle – how about treating this quieter festive period as a bit of a retreat?
Typically, this season is all about family, friends and togetherness. While we might be missing all of that – can you remember a time when you craved some alone time to do whatever you wanted without judgment?
Yes I know that there is plenty to complain about right now, but how about we focus on what we can do, and make the most of it. If you have ever fantasised about a Christmas without all the grownup responsibilities then this is your best chance.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do Christmas how you‘d like it. Well, to be honest we can do that any year, but mostly nobody dares suggest it because of all the hassle and upset it might cause.
This Christmas can be just as good as any other, but you need to start thinking about what you want in order that you don’t drift along into a situation that’s not of your choosing.
Enjoy some solitude – if that’s your thing
Remember those busy family gatherings, with screaming kids and barking dogs? Remember actually wanting to walk those dogs in the rain or snow, just to get away from the noise?
Exhale – this is your year for peace and quiet.
Think about those naps, those quiet sessions reading a book, and those long baths in a quiet house to enjoy. No queuing for the bathroom, and no humouring your relatives.
And you get to sleep in your own bed.
If you look for it, there is always something to appreciate.
Join an online book club - if that's your thing
If you are anything like me then you can often be heard saying things like:
I need to read that book next
Should I join a book club?
That’s on my reading list
You get the idea. But life often gets in the way of my reading list. So now that we are approaching the season of reading, cosy jumpers and endless cups of tea, I’m planning to really get into my ever growing pile of non-read books.
Lately I’ve seen online book clubs popping up all over social media. If you need encouragement or suggestions, or just like to talk about books, then this might be something fun for you to try.
Be as self indulgent as you like - this is a good thing
As adults we so rarely get to be selfish anymore. Whereas your Christmas lunches as a child were served to you – as an adult you’re the one cooking, serving and cleaning up. So how nice would it be to spend a year not cleaning up your house before AND after visitors?
How nice could it be to prepare some lovely meals just for your own household without having to entertain anyone else?
How nice might it be to sleep in, or stay in your pyjamas, and watch whatever you want on TV?
How nice would it be not to have to travel hundreds of miles because you feel you have to - and then arrive tense. Before you have a chance to relax, you are going off to the next place.
This year is different and this Christmas could be different in a good way.
While we might be missing our family and friends, it can’t hurt to give ourselves some well deserved time to do exactly what we feel like.
We can still have connection, perhaps online drinks or party games so that we can raise a toast to each other, if that’s what we want.
Or maybe it's a similar looking Christmas to the one you normally have but you don't break your neck trying to make it perfect - whatever that means.
It’s been a hell of a year, and I think we all deserve a break.
This is your year to just do you.