You know the scene, we've all seen it in photos and on Christmas cards, portrayed in films and imagined in our heads - the perfect Christmas! The one with the huge tree gleaming with lights and other yuletide decorations places just-so. Boxed presents wrapped with precision and donned with velvet bows. Stockings hung is size order across the top of a crackling fire place, which contrasts exquisitely to the ice-cold snow
falling outside the window. Everyone in the family seated around the room, cozied up in matching sweaters, all laughing and enjoying the season - yep that image is burned right in there isn't it. Which is fine, but sometimes we seem to think we've fallen short somehow if we don't reach this glorified image at some point during the festive season - but why?
Who said this is how we should celebrate, who said that if you didn't fill every one of those criteria then your Christmas is a failure? - Well technically, no one! I think it's more ourselves who put the pressure on, trying to strive for an unrealistic representation. At some point all marketing, whether it be Christmas ad's, cards, magazine designs or even shop displays, they all gradually over time formed the image we know today as "The Perfect Christmas" and its reeled out every year and paraded before us, but I don't think this is some hint that this is what we should all experience on the big day, it's just an image that sells, and they've stuck with it!
Let's face it, it's labelled as the season to be jolly, which conjures up a calming scene where everyone's happy and relaxed, but we know this season is anything but:
It all starts with the decorations, I know myself how long it takes to hulk the lot down from their yearly hiding place, construct the tree, add lights, baubles and whatever else seems festive, before adding Crimbo junk to the rest of the room and stringing up some window lights!
Next is gifts, now this is something I tend to like to get done early, though I know others leave it to the last minute, and I think we believe with all the offers around, click and collect services and online ordering, in this day-and-age, buying gifts would be a breeze, but we know it's not that simple!
Next is cards - to send or not to send? The dilemma of how early is too early to hand them out, then you get bombarded by people saying thanks for the card, but they don't do them, so you won't be getting one back. Which makes you wonder if there's any point keeping up the weird tradition.
Food and drink is another big part, knowing how much booze to get and what types, making sure you have the right tipples but at the same time trying not to break the bank. Then there's the food, do you have traditional turkey, or opt for duck this year, no matter what you choose someone won't be happy, then every cake or treat you seem to pick up in the supermarket seems to have the shortest sell-by-date ever, which leaves you having to shop just a few days before the big day, surrounded by everyone else who found the dates rubbish weeks before, and who drag themselves out whether they're in good health or not, so along with crowds you battle for your sanity and your health!
Well all prepare and get ready for the big day, and when it arrives, the kids fight, the grandparents moan and fall asleep far too often, aunts criticises, uncles get way too drunk. No one helps, but no one's happy and you start to long for New Year! But I pounder if all this craziness could all be avoided if we only stopped striving for this "Perfect Christmas", yes all of the above would all still probably happen, but if you weren't so draw out from all the Perfect prep, maybe we'd all feel a bit more resilience to tackle the day, and if we chilled just a little bit then maybe the holiday might actually feel more like a blessing and less of a burden.
So take a moment, a deep breath or two, and realise that maybe the perfect Christmas is an imperfect one and maybe this one will be Merry and Bright!
See you in the New Year!!!
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