Here at Talk in the Bay we’ve been thinking about Christmas. It’s hard to avoid, even in November. Decorations are going up, the shops are stocking up on Christmas goodies, and all the stores are playing Christmas songs on a loop. Christmas starts early in our commercially-driven world. We are under pressure to buy the most up-to-date gadgets and toys – children are so easily influenced by the advertising in the build up to Christmas and parents don’t want to let them down. We also feel obliged to fill our homes full of festive goodies and drinks, and of course everyone will be going to a Christmas party, so don’t forget the new on-trend dress or Christmas jumper!
Christmas can mean many things to many people. Some people love it. They have all their presents bought and wrapped by the first week of December, the turkey and all the trimmings have been ordered and the tree is going up this weekend, along with a celebratory mince pie and glass of sherry. However, for others, it can be a time of sadness due to perhaps the loss of a loved one which is keenly felt at this time. Parents can find it very stressful because they don’t have the money to give their kids the Christmas they’d like, and get into debt which never gets paid off, but just builds up into the next Christmas. Or there is that potential boiling pot situation of a big family get-together where tensions rise, arguments happen, and there is the uncomfortable realisation that you don’t all get along or even like each other that much.
So, the festive season can be the best of times or the worst of times. For many it means a time of joy and laughter, a time to be warm and cosy, to give and to share, and to celebrate the many meanings of this holiday time. To some it is a deeply religious time of year and this gives Christmas a deeper meaning, whilst for many people, it is time to spend with family and loved ones. In contrast however, it can be a difficult time, when feelings of loneliness or loss can be heightened. When a person is sad or alone, it makes it so much more difficult to cope when you are bombarded with images and messages of warmth, togetherness and happiness.