Counting Christmas Blessings
Christmas is often a turbulent time, anxiety about who and when to see family and friends, sourcing the perfect gift and feeding the five thousand. Ordinarily people can whip themselves into a lather for not having the right stuffing or enough pigs in blankets, or is that just me? 2020 has certainly put paid to those kind of tribulations. There has been a lot thrown at us this year. A Machiavellian virus which at best has taken freedom of movement and choice, at worst destroyed livelihoods and taken lives. Aside from the unimaginable impact of the pandemic, people have continued to fall prey to other illnesses and conditions without the support of loved ones and communities to carry them through. People have lost their lives without the deserved send off leaving loved ones to grieve in small clusters.
It is easy to focus on what might be missed, Christmas markets, festive gatherings, rowdy works do’s and annual get togethers. The excitement or dread, depending on your perspective, of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping has alluded many, instead opting for the safety of online shopping or click and collect. It will be a quieter Christmas, not be the usual riotous affair with a steady stream of visitors and the accommodating of various family members.
We generally hold an annual “Fairies and Grinches” workshop focusing on asserting yourself to have the Christmas you want and deserve, without succumbing to duty. Ironically everything we generally find challenging and irritating at Christmas are the things we crave this year.
Christmas is an emotional time, feelings are heightened. I freely admit to needing little encouragement to periodically weep buckets at Christmas, not restricted to sadness just exaggerated emotions bubbling up, literally. It can be a kind word, a twinkly light, a news item or even a television advert that sets me off.
Christmas has always been a hopeful time. People may not be feeling Christmassy in the familiar way but have needed all that Christmas represents which is evident in decorations and trees adorning homes since November.
In some respects the spirit of Christmas is more prevalent this year, there has been little option but to focus on what is important and in many ways count our blessings. The welcome option of selected household mixing over the festive period is the biggest gift of all and what many have hankered for over the year. Christmas seems a simpler affair this year. Choices around guests and visiting is limited which while disappointing reduces the chaos and frenetic attempts to see everyone. There are new experiences, such as ‘Drive Thru’ Christmas Tree shopping. The usual deliberation over the perfect tree and inevitable domestic bickering completely eradicated.
The release of the John Lewis & Waitrose advertisement usually unleashes an abundance of Christmas joy in me and while this year’s offering wasn’t one of my favourites I agree with the message, this year more than ever feels important to “Give a little love.”