This is a weird personal one. 2019 will have been my first Christmas and New Year’s Eve away from home and it’s probably been the least sad experience ever. I always thought I’d be missing home or I’d miss my friends (I always do, that doesn’t change just for Christmas) or I’d miss the traditional festivities. In reality, I saved money, I didn't find myself focusing on people pleasing or having to act happy and the 'hype' was subdued and calm.
Christmas can be a really sad time of year for those experiencing difficult times and the endless pressure to have 'fun' or be happy can be somewhat overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really nice time for a lot of people and there’s endless opportunities to share love with friends and family with wonderful traditions but I’m starting to see another side to it all. A side that allows a day to just be a day.
This time of year is also EXPENSIVE. My friends are always struggling to make their pay checks spread over until the end of January as it IS necessary to pay for an £11 glass of mulled wine in Covent Garden or buy expensive gifts that will inevitably end up in the bin...
I was really lucky to have my mum and sister fly out to Vietnam to spend Christmas with me but it still didn’t change the fact that it was just a day. There was no fuss, we just ate cheese, enjoyed each other’s company and watched Christmas films. It was the laziest of lazy days. New Year’s Eve was spent eating and drinking (without ridiculous price tags) and a drunken countdown with the faint sound of a couple of fireworks across the horizon, not to mention a hangover that nearly destroyed me.
Taking the pressure away from all of the festivities was amazing. Mum didn’t have to fuss putting up a Christmas tree or organising any family members. NO-ONE argued over parsnips (mainly because they don’t seem to exist in Vietnam) but more importantly, no-one had to stress about anything at all. Admittedly, Rachael and I stressed a little (a fair bit) about decorating the flat so it was perfect and Christmassy but I think I concluded that not even that was imperative.
Vietnamese cheese feast pictured:
I’m blabbering but I guess I’m trying to say that sometimes it’s nice to detach from the pressure and realise that these days are just days. The strain of the occasion doesn't need to be overwhelming and you really don't need to buy your cousin a £60 bottle of perfume just because you think it's normal. These are just single moments in a year or a lifetime and feeling sad or not enjoying yourself doesn’t need to be a negative thing. Take every day as it comes, share as much love as you can but don’t beat yourself up if you’re tired or irritated on days that are, (let's be honest) destined to be somewhat anticlimactic. It’s refreshing, I promise.
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