Images of the ‘perfect Christmas’ are everywhere at this time of year, the media loves to portray the idea of blissfully happy nuclear families tucking into a Christmas feast having just opened hundreds of pounds worth of gifts. The majority of the most popular Christmas songs are happy jingles about perfect snow coated terrain and a world full of cheer. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Christmas. I love seeing the excitement in the children’s faces as they clamp their eyes shut on Christmas Eve so that Father Christmas will come. I love the lights, the music, the tree, I love it all. But for many, Christmas isn’t easy.
Some families spend the entire year saving to get their children the best gifts they can, once Christmas is over they start all over again. The sheer dedication that those parents have is beautiful, but when did Christmas become such a competition? Nowadays there is such immense pressure on families to flash the cash and buy the best of the best, as soon as children go back to school discussion about who received what is rife. Often children, especially younger children, are more entertained by the box and the wrapping paper than the gift itself. My children will not go without this Christmas, they will be chuffed with the gifts Father Christmas brings, but they won’t be getting iPad’s or a trip to Lapland. They will receive gifts chosen with love, within a reasonable price range, and without parents panicking about finances. Strip it back, kid’s don’t need all the gadgets and gizmos. If your lucky enough too spoil your children, then I am glad. But think of those who aren’t, put yourself in their shoes. Christmas isn’t about stress and worry. It’s about family.
No two families are the same, some have two parents, some have one. Some have 1 or 2 children, other’s have 9 or 10. Some families are made up of step-parents and siblings and other’s are vast, aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents all under the same roof. All families are different, there is no such thing as the perfect family. What works for you is your perfection.
Mental health is for life, not just for Christmas. Mental illness doesn’t take a break over the holidays. It doesn’t matter whether its Christmas Day or the Summer Solstice, the demons are there. I speak from personal experience here when I say that Christmas often magnifies poor mental health. Stress levels rise, pressure mounts, and the idyllic Christmas just cannot be achieved when every single day is a struggle. This Christmas, whilst you clink glasses with family and friends, laughing and smiling and being merry, think of those who would love to share in your joy, but just can’t.
This Christmas I will be donating to the Mind Christmas Appeal 2016 – a small gesture that will make a big difference to those in need of a helping hand during the most wonderful time of the year. I’ll also be taking a step back from the website until the New Year to focus on enjoying the festive season with my children. Merry Christmas to you all.
Mummy Times Two