Christmas used to be my favourite celebration of the year, next to my birthday. I loved every bit about it, from the lights, to the eating and drinking. It was the best time of year. Then I developed depression and the pressure to be happy when all I wanted to do was give in to how I was feeling became overwhelming. Now, any kind of festive or celebratory occasion fills me with dread. There’s so much to do, so much hype, so much pressure on being merry and happy. It can be too much. There’s pressure to have the perfect tree, the perfectly decorated home, Pinterest worthy gift wrapping and a blog post worthy outfit to boot. Add in to the mix the pressure to see people and be ‘on form’, hide how I might be feeling and be full of festive cheer, it makes me all a bit ‘bah humbug’. While I don’t feel that I suffer from depression at the moment, I still have days which can be a chore and Christmas is a time where I feel like I should be overjoyed with Christmas spirit but I’m certainly more like Scrooge than Buddy the Elf! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time off work, with Phil and Poppy, going for long walks, doing the kind of things we enjoy doing, as long as I maintain a routine, I know I’ll be fine and enjoy it in my own way, but it’s still a bit of struggle. Instead, while I’m not going to be inviting the neighbors round to enjoy perfect homemade festive treats, we’ll enjoy our own calmer version of Christmas.
Depression isn’t the only issue I have with Christmas. There’s an awful lot of waste and greed exhibited at Christmas. Why do we purge on food and wine during a week or so over Christmas, only to almost starve ourselves in January to detox from all the gluttony? Doesn’t it seem bonkers?! As we’re having Christmas at home this year, we’ve really scaled back on everything food and drinks wise. I really don’t need to eat so much that I need to put my joggers on! But it’s not just the food and drink, it’s all the waste of resources in wrapping presents and sending cards, only for them to be put in recycling at the end of Christmas. I know it really does sound bah humbug, but surely there has to be a better way. To counteract some of the waste this year, I’ve given a few charity donations in place of Christmas presents and because I’ve run out of Christmas cards, stamps and time, I’ve given money to Restore, an Oxford based mental health charity, in place of sending cards to everyone. Phil also came up with a genius eco-friendly gift wrap idea. Instead of spending loads on wasteful wrapping paper, bows and tags, he reused Domino’s flyers, magazines and newsletters to wrap Christmas gifts. I think they look fab. Very festive, colorful and eco-friendly. I’m definitely going to do this next year.
I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, whatever it looks like. And if you are struggling, the Samaritans are available for anyone who needs them.