Saying NO to Christmas

Has the essence of Christmas lost its flavour?  

I personally know of 3 families who aren’t “celebrating”, and not because of religious reasons either, it’ll be just another Tuesday with lunch and television… no turkey, no huge meal, no going overboard with the extra food that wouldn’t normally be eaten, no extra alcohol. 

There’s a leaning towards ignoring the commercialism and getting back to the feeling of goodwill to all men, the birth of Christ, the story behind the Nativity and truly reconnecting with family members who have mutual feelings. I’ve chosen to work this year and take time off in the New Year.

The signs of Christmas are everywhere. All the shops are full of sparkly, houses are covered in Christmas lights, and the telly and the airwaves are filled with ads featuring the holiday’s hottest new gadgets and special Christmas sales.

You can almost taste the expectation of buying gifts and spending money this time of year. But some families are saying no to all of this. They are tired of all the “stuff” and want to take a less materialistic approach to the holiday season.

So what’s changed? 

I believe that people are fed up and are skipping the artificially created culture of Christmas.

For many people, the holidays are not the happiest time of year. Oftentimes people make the choice to forego a holiday party, or not host a Christmas day dinner with a sigh of relief at not having to “pretend” to be in a good mood, or risk being accused of “ruining” the holidays with their personal stress or sadness.

There are legitimate reasons to opt out of celebrating with family and friends. Oftentimes, we are stuck in negative communication patterns with our loved ones, and despite efforts to reach out and work on the issue with them, it’s been met with frustration and little effort from the other party. If seeing these people will only exacerbate the hurt, then opting out is a fine choice. Sometimes it’s an acknowledgment of the way things are versus the way we wish things could be.

Advertising doesn’t help either, planting the seeds of inadequacy in those unable to either locate or afford “perfect” gifts for everyone on their list, from the mailperson to the office Christmas party… the list is endless! The holidays soon begin to feel commercialised and intrusive. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that more people are depressed this time of year.

What happens when you DO say no to all of the “Holly Jolly”…

It’s hard to say no… especially at this time of year.

People get uncomfortable with the word “no.” Everyone wants you to say yes…

No matter how big and bad and fiercely independent we think we are, relationships are the central focus of our lives.  And many times, in these relationships that one little word (NO!) comes out as “OK,” “sure,” “why not,” “all right,” “I suppose,” “if you really think so” or just as a sigh of defeat.

But why do we do this? We KNOW better. We’ve read all the self-help books on this subject. We can tell other people all day long how to say NO. It’s one of the smallest, shortest words in the English language, but one of the hardest to say. So how do we change our holiday traditions and say NO to Christmas?

How to opt out gently.

  • You can’t please everyone all the time, but you can reduce the sting of disappointment.

  • Tell everyone in advance so there are no hurt feelings.

  • Compromise with a promised visit AFTER the holiday – for New Year’s or the week after Christmas. Make sure they know they are a priority.

  • Explain lovingly that you aren’t trying to hurt them and that you love them very much. Make sure they know this isn’t abandonment of the family.

  • Be compassionate to their feelings. They may feel hurt or rejected or even disappointed.

  • If you’re concerned that your loved one will be alone, invite them to join YOU.

  • Show you care in other ways.

  • Realise that there are consequences for this decision. Is it worth disappointing your family to spend your time doing something else? If the answer is yes then be confident in your decision. There’s nothing worse than regret.

Make less mean more this Christmas

Even if you don’t want to completely opt out this year… remember this: A happy holiday season does NOT have to mean an overdone XMAS extravaganza in your house.

You know exactly what I mean overachievers. Every single space decorated and cleaned with a toothbrush, every possible holiday tradition upheld, every corner of your space filled to the gills with Santa and Rudolph and reindeer and stuff, a full spread for holiday dinner with a Turkey and all the trimmings and even more trimmings after that, handmade Mince Pies with all the flair of a master chef… and on and on… and on.

Whoa there! I got tired just typing that.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Simple and understated can mean classy and stress-free. Read all about ways you can have a stress free Christmas HERE!

What are your feelings about Christmas?  Are you going commercially festive, doing the complete opposite, or somewhere in between? I’d love to hear all about it! 

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