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Spoiler Alert: This post is not for Christmas lovers. You may be irritated or offended.
Apparently a ‘well dressed tree’ is the bare minimum.
‘Sparkle and glamour’ are important too. “The illuminations are essential!”
Have you guessed? I’m watching a TV show about the festive season.
They’ve paid a visit to a decorations laboratory where preparations for Christmas starts in January.
‘Magical modern Christmases’ and festive lights in Regent Street in 1954. City centre lights building anticipation for Christmas.
(…. In anticipation of filling the coffers of the retail trade with cash)
‘Let’s use cable ties to lace everything together. Safe cheap and disposable, to create a moment of unadulterated joy!!!!!!’
It got adulterated when they said cable ties were disposable. They mean you can chuck ’em away! They don’t decompose. They’re unnecessary rubbish.
I need to turn it off. I need to stop.
More cable ties for the battery operated lights.
The essence of what’s wrong with Christmas to me. Superficial, twinkly rubbish.
It also presses my buttons in the reinforcement that this event is all about people being together.
Perfect presenter, body double making beautiful crafts, perfect home, perfect tree, perfect life.
The presenter doesn’t like Christmas cards because they’re untidy yet they represent family too.
So many people spend this time alone.
I can’t bear the way programmes like this tell people what their Christmas has to be like. Yet I’m convinced that instead of helping people to do their preparations they reinforce negatives about real experiences.
It seems that plenty of people are struggling at this time of year and perhaps not interested in cable ties and baubles.
The Samaritans is a UK charity that supports people in crisis. Their website tells a very different Christmas story.
More than 45% of men who responded to a survey* by Samaritans said they felt more worried at Christmas than other times of the year.
The findings come with a reminder that volunteers from the charity’s 201 branches will be available round the clock over the festive period, for anyone who needs to talk.
The online survey found that of the male respondents:
Almost half (48%) feel sad or depressed at Christmas time
45% of men feel that others expect them to be happy at Christmas when they are not
More than a third (37%) of men admitted to feeling lonely at Christmas
30% of men felt stressed or anxious at Christmas time.
With men in the UK three times more likely than women to take their own lives, the charity is encouraging them to seek help and consider calling Samaritans if things are getting to them over the festive period.
Men are also much less likely than women to have a positive view of counselling or therapy, and when they do use these services, it is at the point of crisis.
Last year, Samaritans received around 244,000 calls during the Christmas period from people in the UK and ROI, and relies on kind donations from the public to keep its helpline open every single day of the year.
I can’t help but think that the ‘bare minimum‘ for everyone should be to be free of worry and anxiety. Particularly if it’s free of anxiety about big spending and cable ties.
(The views in this post are my own. If you don’t agree or think I’m a Scrooge of a grinch I won’t be listening. )
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...