As the nights start to darken, I find myself aware of a change in client work. We move inevitably towards Christmas, the evenings draw in, decorations begin to appear on porches, adverts on television start to feel cosier.
There is a very clear feel about Christmas and what it’s supposed to be about, the expectation, the media scripted log fire and carol singing day of family and sharing. The ideal reminds me of the end of the Frank Capra classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life”. However the reality is often not the same.
When the adverts and movies are selling the ideal of peace and joy and being around family, it is significantly different for many people whose lives are forever changed by violence, bereavement, redundancy. For many people, the notion of this perpetuated ideal Christmas is far away from their first Christmas without a parent who has died, or is anxiety ridden by the pressure to buy presents for the children on a single salary where previously there were two.
For many people, Christmas is a time of loneliness and this has been highlighted recently by a Facebook group that has tried to spread Christmas joy as a reaction to the pandemic. It is here that it has highlighted the people who don’t have someone to share Christmas with and this has led to suggestions of a shared online Christmas meeting to share something together.
As we tread towards the winter, and the dark nights cause us to rush home to the warmth and familiarity, I am reminded that amidst the anxieties and uncertainties of Christmas, we are also dealing with the pandemic and the effect this has continued to have on everyone involved.
Although the news is now talking of a possible vaccine that may start being given out next month, there are concerns and worries that the current lockdown won’t have enough of an impact and the fear that this will impact on Christmas further than it already is, no Christmas markets, no Santa grotto’s, no pantomimes, Christmas starts to look more like something out of a hybrid novel by Phillip K. Dick and Charles Dickens.
Christmas often feels like pressure. pressure to get the right present, to cook the perfect meal, to please everyone and to make sure everybody has the best time. I wonder if this year, for once we can spend a little more time making sure we are okay first? I hear a word today, ‘Kindfullness‘, a mix of being kind and being mindful. The pressure to make sure everyone else is okay, often I feel leaves us not making sure that we are okay. Perhaps if we spent a little bit more time making sure that we were okay would lessen the ‘pressure’ to make sure that everyone else was okay and perhaps that might lead to a little bit more balance.