Surviving Christmas

Christmas may be the season to be jolly but it can also be a difficult time for people.  In times of economic ‘doom and gloom’, families can be under pressure to buy the latest goods for their children.  Financial worries can put a strain on everyone and when money is tight, financial planning is essential.  It is important to keep in mind, that overspending will not make the children happy if the consequences of luxury goods are miserable parents and a tense family atmosphere.  So, if this year you are doing Christmas on budget don’t despair, you can still have a wonderful festive season.

Decorating the house – Get the kids involved!  Go out and find foliage, pinecones, & acorns and spray them with silver and gold paint.  Cut some holly and put them around candles.  Grab some coloured paper, glue and glitter and get the children to create Christmas pictures.

Presents – Get baking!  Baking gifts for the family is a wonderful way of creating personalised presents.  Bake some festive biscuits, bake some cakes, and decorate them with people’s names to make them personal.

Visit the local £1 shop (or 99p store), they have loads of gift ideas and no one will know how little they cost.  You can find everything here from candles, books, and chocolates to wrapping paper

Make your own vouchers – Give away your time, make baby-sitting vouchers or cleaning vouchers.  Offer someone 4 hours of your time.  Often, your time will be more appreciated than a pair of M&S socks!

There may also be family pressures at Christmas; you may have family coming to stay, which can sometimes put additional pressure on families.  When families are ‘thrown’ together at Christmas it can be recipe for disaster, as so many different personalities come together for the one day.  Alcohol can also play a part in family tensions and arguments.  So how can you keep your cool this year?  Remember the Christmas season does not last forever, just a few days and normal life will resume.  So, deep breaths are a must!  Do not overdo the alcohol and if things start to get too much take time out.  Remove yourself for 5 minutes, take slow deep breaths, and remember everyone may be feeling under pressure, so keep things in perspective.

Christmas can be a difficult time for people who have not got others to share it with.  Depression and suicide rates increase around Christmas, which can be triggered by many things including loss, failure and loneliness.  People who have experienced loss during the year (though death or divorce) may find that grief and depression increases during the holiday season as the full extent of their loss is felt.  It can be more difficult to cope when everyone else seems to be full of joy, it may be harder to reach out when you feel out of place and therefore feelings of isolation may increase.

If you are alone this Christmas and feel that depression is taking hold, reach out to someone, whether this be a friend, relative, your GP or the * Samaritans.  Do not suffer in silence, help is out there.

*  Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90


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