Christmas: What Happened to It?
By: Beth McHugh 2009
As I have been tying up the final loose ends for Christmas Day, I am continuously running into frazzled women. Glassy eyed, tousled hair, they seem strained, forgetful, distracted and angry. And these are not my clients; they are women trying to prepare for Christmas Day!
Something has gone terribly wrong with Christmas and the festive season. High expectations, over-commercialization of Christmas – whatever it is – it is distressing grown, mature women and turning them into stressed, irritable zombies who are all repeating a surprisingly common mantra –“I just wish Christmas would be over!”
Most of these women are aged between 30 and 60. They are caught in what is known as the “sandwich generation” – they have children and they have aging parents. The stress of Christmas preparation falls entirely on them and many are folding under the strain.
Then there is the problem of in-laws. This is an age-old problem that injects its own stress into Christmas Day, but now we have step-families, single parent families, blended families – all a recipe for increased stress as sibling rivalry rears to new heights. Heights once never even dreamed of just half a century ago.
Combine elevated emotional minefields with the increasing expectations in terms of gifts for children and you are then facing a financial nightmare, as well as an emotional one. No wonder these women look and feel stressed!
The solution? I don’t know, but it seems a “back to basics” treatment of the festive season would be in order. Refusing to be persuaded by huge corporations to spend more, refusing to be blackmailed by your children to spend more, refusing to be caught up in the competition with your ex-spouse to outdo them in terms of presents on Xmas Day would be a start. If we can get a grassroots movement going and make Christmas more relevant by focusing less on overspending and taking up the challenge of buying one inexpensive gift ( this can be a really fun activity) is a start.
Please feel welcome to comment on how you have solved the “Christmas