Tis the Season. Will it Be Sensational or Stink?

7 Dec

Many Christmas’s in my life and yours too I imagine, have been so amazing, filled with love and tinsel, a sparkly stream of fabulous family, amazing food, children’s squeals, handmade goodies, laden Christmas trees, thoughtful presents, shared stories, goofy games and loud laughter.

Some are sensational and some are far from it. Some are just stink.

There are many reasons why some homes, some years, overflow with seasonal joy, and others not so much. Life can occasionally just fall apart at the seams. Illness, loss, geographical distance, natural disasters, conflicted family, depression, dementia, stress, divorce, addiction, lack of finances, not having a home, you name it, some

years have it. People we love die and we miss them terribly. Grief can slide the glitter and magic right off the season.

Another thing that makes it stink, is people who just can’t help piling on a bit of pressure, mixed in with a dose of projected disappointment and righteous expectation, telling people how they should do Christmas and why. Trying to control what other people should do or say, or eat or not, or where they should go or who they should visit is never a good idea.

Here’s what to do if that happens to you:

If it was said to you on social media, simply delete the comment and give it zero traction.

If they phone or hit you up in person, say Thanks for your suggestion, and use a giant full stop.


  • buy into the drama
  • ruminate and let them ruin your day or week
  • feel guilt or shame
  • justify or defend
  • poke at a wasps nest
  • go full grinch


  • know that is says more about them than you
  • use calm as your superpower
  • detach and curiously observe the feelings that surface
  • avoid conflict
  • remember that you’re a grown up
  • feel compassion. If they knew better, maybe they would do better.

Here’s the thing. The only shoulds that need to hang around are these. No one should  ever have to put themselves in debt, compromise their emotional or physical wellbeing, or fly halfway around the country or world just because there is a ton of cultural expectations about family and togetherness. Some people actually have shitty relationships within families, religious pressures, trouble or turmoil. Sometimes they are just not up for it. Not everyone shares their demons or declares their disasters, and nor should they have to. Let’s respect healthy decisions, and allow people to decide what they need for themselves, and know that we often have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in most peoples lives, unless you’re lucky enough to have therapist privileges.

Whichever Christmas awaits you, know that it is just one day out of 365 and you can and will withstand it.

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