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Of course I like meeting friends and family during Christmas, but as an introvert, I do have a foul taste in my mouth when it comes to the pressure of being social ALL THE FREAKING TIME during the “main days” of Christmas. Christmas dinner, Christmas parties, surviving relatives that have a PhD in complaining about their health or other stuff, big-ish crowds and in general a socializing marathon. I feel that there is a certain pressure to participate in all the festivities, otherwise people might look at you as if you’ve got two heads. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely (the latter I will address shortly). I do go to various festivities during the Christmas season. The main one is visiting my grandparents on Christmas Eve, eating dinner and opening gifts, as it’s often just the three of us which makes it pretty relaxing (Christmas Eve is the “big” day in Norway).
The opposite of alone is lonely. Even as an introvert enjoying my own company, I do appreciate the thought of including the lonely during Christmas. Sometimes someone doesn’t have anyone to celebrate Christmas with and crave having someone. Their loneliness might be caused by various reasons. There is just two things I want to point out; don’t forget the lonely the rest of the year and don’t pressure people in general to participate if they don’t feel like it.
After working in retail, there is another thing that bothers me during the Christmas season and that is the consumerism. Try working in retail the entire Christmas season with cranky and ungrateful customers running around like headless chickens finding Christmas gifts, you just might lose your Christmas spirit and feel a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Christmas comes on the same date every year, just why do people wait until the last minute to buy Christmas gifts, seriously?
The consumerism can be a bit of a pain at times. It does dictate that one “has to” purchase a physical gift to someone. It also makes a divide between those with a good economy and those who are struggling. What is wrong with thoughtful gifts instead of a mindless (and very possibly pricey) gift purchased at the last minute? Also, what is wrong with giving experiences instead of physical gifts? The pressure of gifts does make a toll, especially on the ones who struggle financially.
Whether one struggles financially or are lonely, the divides during Christmas are even clearer than the rest of the year, as there is the pressure of performing. If you don’t have anyone to celebrate Christmas with, or enough money to buy gifts/food/whatever, it shows a bit more during the so-called festive season.
No matter the financial situation or other issues, there is a certain pressure to perform anyway and it can potentially make Christmas a bit more stressful than necessary. What about everyone giving themselves some slack this year and focusing on having FUN during Christmas instead of focusing on buying elaborate and expensive gifts, attending x number of parties and what-not? Wouldn’t the holiday be a bit more joyful then?