It’s the Most [Difficult] Time of the Year

 We are continuously told that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but for many people, that isn’t the reality. As someone who finds the festive season particularly difficult emotionally, I know how it feels first-hand.

With December around the corner, I wanted to write a post which acknowledges the trickier elements of the festive season.

It’s okay if you don’t feel like the embodiment of sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and reindeer-shaped chocolate at Christmas, and I hope that this post can be a little reminder of that.

The city centre is coated in snowflake-shaped fairy lights, ‘Fairytale of New York’ is blaring in every shopping centre across the country (and, somehow, they still haven’t edited out the ‘f’ word in it), and you can smell the sugary sweetness of gingerbread lattes wherever you go. The Christmas bubble – or snow globe, if you will – becomes integral to our day-to-day routine, whether we like it or not, right up until supermarkets run out of pigs in blankets.

I adore the positivity and excitement that fills the air at this time of year. Finally, we get to escape whatever stress, anxieties or pressure on our minds, even if it’s just for a couple of seconds on the commute each morning when you walk past the Christmas tree in your town square. We get to suspend our disbelief as we think of a big man in a funny hat who will deliver gifts to children around the world. And hey, who doesn’t love a gingerbread latte, right?

At the same time, though, there are plenty of people out there who find this time of year to be a little more challenging. The capitalisation of Christmas in the high street’s ongoing bid to make as much money out of us as possible puts colossal significance on the image of ‘family’. Whether it’s tear-jerking supermarket adverts to convince you to buy your turkey from that retailer, or roadside billboards with images of every possible relative sitting around a table clinically laughing together about (what was definitely an incredibly shitty) Christmas cracker joke.

And as advertising sneaks its way into the online world, we’re now seeing a lot of content online around this time of year that reflects the same ‘perfect family Christmas’ image that we see in shop windows. Instagram stories of erupted luxury Christmas cracker goodies; a week’s-worth of scrolling through Pinterest-ready photos of dinner tables with personalised confetti.

But when you’re missing relatives, when you’re experiencing grief or trauma, or this time of year triggers negative memories, it can be almost unbearable. I wanted to write this post to say that it’s okay if the Christmas season makes you feel low, unmotivated or upset. It’s okay if you’re not squealing with excitement come Christmas Eve. It’s okay if you wish you could turn back time or fast forward into the future on Christmas morning. You can get through this, because you have done every year till now.

I hope that the comments section of this post can act as a little space for people who feel this way to connect with those who get it.

Also, no matter who you are, one can only listen to the unnerving intentional sensuality of ‘Santa Baby’. If you’re looking for a giggle, Michael Buble has a rendition called ‘Santa Buddy’, a song in which lyric alterations go to such an extent to enforce that Michael Buble is straight that it just screams ‘no homo’.

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