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  • Writer's pictureCorinne Yeadon

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Stressmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Stressmas, can you smell the panic in the air? People distractedly racing around, heads jam packed with ‘To Do’ lists.

There are so many expectations placed on us at this time of year, some of our own creation. Refusal and assertion skills appear to disintegrate for fear of being uncharitable, uncaring or downright humbuggy. Normal rules go out of the window, or up the chimney, at Christmas, we have contact with people who are steadfastly avoided throughout the year and do so with a fixed grin all in the name of peace to all men.

Plans are begrudgingly made and agreed to, in keeping with the ideal of ‘The family Christmas.’ This can generally only be sustained for a couple of days before family dynamics surface and the cracks of resentment begin to appear. Throw a liberal amount of alcohol into the mix and the gloves are off! In the age of blended and extended families it is impossible to please everyone. This can result in “Flying Visits” to all and sundry which leaves people being more aggrieved than if there had been no contact at all.

Christmas is a time for euphoric recall, I often hark back to childhood Christmases spent with grandparents at their cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Throughout adulthood I have regaled tales of going to the village church on Christmas Eve, returning to a cosy cottage, crackling fire and home made mince pies. It only recently dawned on me that by the power of deduction this ‘idyllic’ Christmas only actually happened one time and I had bronchitis which rendered me incapable of opening any presents, eating my Christmas dinner or being vertical! This speaks volumes of memories and how we conveniently delete or archive details. My late mother despised Christmas but not half as much as she loathed going home to the countryside, she had morphed into a town mouse and I can say with conviction she must have had itchy feet to return to the bright lights for the duration of the festive period.

Christmas gifts can mean stretching finances to the max to avoid disappointing loved ones, woe betide if the desired amount of gratitude and joy is not forthcoming!

When declarations are made of “cutting back” in terms of presents, this is generally presented as a “token gift” or “just a little something.” I will admit to uttering these words and being appropriately chastised, never apologise for a gift!

Christmas is a religious festival but at no point in the Nativity does it mandate the need for a turkey, 3 different stuffings, pigs in blankets and many variations of vegetables. The food shopping, prep and cooking can only be described as biblical in proportions. I will confess to being guilty of this in spite of declarations of it only being a roast dinner, with “extra’s.”

I am renowned for my love of Christmas and all things festive, however, this year I have the added gift of the menopause. Some of my symptoms include, poor memory, hot flushes, exhaustion and brain fog. These are not conducive with being the hostess with the mostest and cooking Christmas dinner. I have, therefore, set my stall out and declared my intentions. As planned, family will be joining us for Christmas lunch, collected and despatched at a designated time. Dinner prep will be done on Christmas Eve. In the event of memory loss a list of cooking timings will be pre-written for my other half to check off. Guests will be prewarned of the probability of me bolting outside to cool down or retiring for a ‘nana nap.’ Should brain fog descend, my immediate family are under instruction to converse and entertain our guests accordingly, even if this involves my youngest regurgitating the A Level history syllabus.

It really shouldn’t take the menopause to formulate a strategy to reduce the likelihood of getting in a tizzy at Christmas. The upside of my current menopausal Zen like bliss means for once, I haven’t and won’t, get my fairy lights in a tangle

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