We’re three days into December, three windows open on the advent calendar, so for about the last six to eight weeks we’ve been ramping up the festive feeling. The high street stores and supermarkets have delivered their usual Hollywood budget advertising campaigns, complete with a fizzed up version of some old song that you either forgot or hated the first time around, done with soft vocals and all the twinkles.
Every year the spending gets wilder, the gifts more extravagant, the pressure to get Christmas ‘just right’ mounts, and all over the country, hearts break, tempers fray, and loneliness bites harder than at any other time of the year.
For the record, I love Christmas, I love the cheesy songs, the tinsel, the lights, the fact that people come together and become the people they really want to be, if only for a couple of days, I love seeing family, friends, watching my favourite Christmas films, ( Scrooged, Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, Die Hard) I even love the traditional side of Christmas, the nativity, carols, whether you believe or not, it’s a nice message of hope against adversity, and a hope for redemption.
So how come, on December the third, I feel apathy at best, and at worst, utter dread, about the next 22 days? I haven’t shopped, the thought of Meadowhall and the Christmas market brings me out in a cold sweat, the lack of any inspiration or clue as to what to buy people as gifts, not one Christmas card yet written, honestly, if it were possible, I would happily hibernate until mid March.
I know I’m not alone in feeling like this, so many people, too many people, are facing the prospect of Christmas alone, just another cold winter day on the calendar, and it’s no surprise that anyone with a mental health issue is going to find this time of year hard, to face it alone is exponentially horrifying. So, if you are going to be facing Christmas alone, reach out, there are things happening on that day, in our community, that you can get involved in, and if you aren’t feeling up to going out, make a call, speak to someone, just to say hello, and Merry Christmas, and realise that this can be a time for hope, a time to look to a future, a change. If you know someone who’s struggling at the moment, or who might be alone, do the same, give them a call, let them know you’re there, and that they aren’t truly alone. knock on a door, send a message, pick up the phone, give someone a hug. You could just make someone’s whole year brighter.
The best gift you can give anyone this Christmas, or any Christmas, is your time, your love, and your friendship.