This time of year, it seems impossible to escape that jolly happy glow that surrounds everything we see. Everyone you pass seems to be humming a variation of Jingle Bells, every TV programme is interrupted by tinsel-strung adverts, and you can’t go anyway where seeing signs for the ‘Ultimate Christmas Sale!’ It’s Christmas, and we should all be feeling merry, right?
Unfortunately not. For many people this year, feeling festive is at the bottom of their to do list this winter.
It’s been a hard year for the world with this, with terrorism, national disaster and political distress making the headlines almost every day. We’ve been through a lot, and although it might be nice to see Christmas as the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, for most that’s just not realistic.
As we get older, we start to realise that Christmas just doesn’t feel the same. We stop believing in Santa, our present piles get smaller and our Christmas lists start to include things like ‘a new kettle’ and ‘new pants’ instead of exciting toys and games.
Our responsibilities mount, and ‘paying the rent’ becomes the new ‘putting up the Christmas tree’.
With every new Christmas that passes, we get older and things begin to change: some of the family members we once had sitting around the table might be lost, houses may change, relationships break down, and things are just different. So the way we view Christmas is different too.
Sadly, Christmas is no longer a month off school and a chance to see Santa in his grotto every year. It’s a week off work and a chance to spend your last bit of paycheque on a Secret Santa gift for the new boy in the office that no one actually likes.
It’s admitting things like this that can really get us down, and make us feel just a little bit miserable this time of year. We struggle and try to get that Christmas magic back – but it seems to have melted like The Snowman over the past few years.
But don’t worry. Christmas isn’t over. There are some small things you can do to help re-ignite your love for the festive season:
Look at Christmas through new eyes
When you accept that the childhood feelings of Christmas are gone, you get to look forward to the grown up bits of Christmas.
Time off work, Christmas bonuses, good food and spending time with your family! Coming home from university and watching your old favourite Christmas films with your friends.
You begin to enjoy writing out mountains of Christmas cards, and you’ll fall in love with Christmas shopping.
Give yourself a festive to do list and make sure you complete it by the big day, and feel like a festive Queen every time you tick something off. You’re not a Grinch, you’re a GirlBoss and you can rock Christmas like a grown up this year.
Engage in Christmas activities
When you’re not feeling festive, it can be hard to do all of things you love about Christmas: visiting the markets, eating mince pies, wrapping presents…but the more you do them, the more festive you might feel!
Or failing that, these activities are still fun, whether or not they relate to Christmas or not. So enjoy them for what they are, and worry about your emotional connection to them later!
Help out at festive events
It’s impossible to not feel festive when dressed like an Elf and taking children to see Santa, right? So volunteer to help out with your local community event, or the Christmas play at a local school.
Even helping your mum to deliver her Christmas cards could help get you into the spirit, so force yourself to get involved, and become part of the season once again.
Don’t overthink it
The more we worry about not feeling festive, the less time we have to actually feel festive. Block off those thoughts of ‘it just doesn’t feel like Christmas’ and ‘I’ll never feel Christmassey again’, because they just won’t help.
It’s time poorly spent worrying over something that, on a larger scale, simply doesn’t matter.
When you look back on past Christmases, you remember the fun bits, the silly bits, the terrible presents and the amazing food. You don’t look back on that night you stayed up late, moaning on Twitter about you don’t feel festive yet. Christmas is still Christmas, whether you feel it or not. So enjoy the time you have, and stop worrying.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t feel festive this year. Feelings are complicated things, and they like to frustrate us, worry us and upset us more than you think. So take a deep breath, grab yourself some antlers and go have some fun!