“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”

Norman Vincent Peale


My inner child is starting to get excited about Christmas, she loves all the tinsel and baubles. Fuelled by memories of bulging kilt socks found at the end of her bed,

She loves this time of year.

Each year the old baby basket appeared, tinsel cascading down it’s sides, followed by delving into boxes hunting out favourite decorations. Fairy lights, carol singing, and the warming smell of mince pies all kindled anticipation and excitement.

My inner adolescent, on the other hand has felt very differently, she wished we could just by-pass the whole thing. Christmas Eve for her was coloured by a worn out mother’s resentful attempts to fulfil her children’s dreams. Time stretched out counting the drinks consumed, the dreaded drunk who would later fall through the door.

Christmas morning was spent counting drinks again, how many would he have before lunch? Would he be drunk? Would he be rude? Would he spoil it all again, offend the posh Grandparents and mortify the others?

If we are to believe the adverts spurting out from our consumer culture all we need do is purchase the dress, wear the perfume, eat all the highly processed highly priced foods, wrap tonnes of presents in masses of wrapping paper and we too will have the fun filled, loved up, fantasy Christmas portrayed.


This one big love bubble Christmas fantasy often only serves to intensify feelings of dread for those who face a less than perfect Christmas. Perhaps for you it’s loneliness or poverty or a family dysfunctions like addiction, or some other reason why looking forward to Christmas is a very mixed affair.

From 19 years old my way to cope was to opted out of family Christmases only making the odd appearance out of guilt or duty. I spent that first year away camping in the snow, eating baked beans and scrambled eggs, a bit of a sharp contrast to home!

Later I had my own family which allowed my inner child to indulge and play again, but always I faced the nagging guilt and envy. Guilty because I should spend Christmas with family and I didn’t and envy because it so often seemed like everyone else had big happy families to spend the festive season with.

Gradually I learned that my envy was based on a fantasy and I was not alone. There are many people who find this time of year a challenge. Perhaps for similar reasons to me perhaps not, but nonetheless it is not an easy time, stress levels skyrocket, tensions strain and many wish it was all over before it even begins.

If you find yourself even remotely in this category remember you are not alone.


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Categories: Change

About the Author: Mairi

Radical Self Care Coach, supporting you to create a calmer, simpler, more deeply connected life where you take better care of yourself and our planet.

One Comment

  1. […] How sad that we have this opportunity for a mid-winter celebration and yet so many, like me, would rather not be facing it at all. For years I struggled to enjoy this time of year. I wrote about some of the reasons for this last year in The Christmas Double Act Within. […]

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