Surviving the Silly Season


    In the lead up to Christmas, there is always so much excitement and hype!  There are gifts to buy and parties to attend, new clothes to purchase and Christmas Cards to send.


    But now put your hand up if you have felt depressed, disappointed, sad, or let down after the festivities have ended.  I imagine most of you reading this have at one time or another. 


    The things that can go wrong in this time are many and varied. Some may include:


    1. Over spending or existing financial difficulties – Ohhh yes we all know this one!  So easy to justify that it is Christmas and little Johnny just can’t live without that flash $200 toy.

    2. Family tensions and disagreements – A big one at Christmas.  It is so hard to get extended family members together without some sort of clash between some of the family members.

    3. If you have been recently bereaved – whether by death of a loved one, divorce, or other major traumatic event.

    4. Simple isolation – sometimes, people have ended up in a position where they have no one to be with at Christmas.  This is sadly very common, and also an increased cause of suicide at this time of year.

    5. Other factors such as having had a very difficult year, or even something like having recently merged two families into a step-family.


    So, what are some of the things we can do to get through this Christmas and New Year period (or help someone else through) without suffering the effects of all this? 


    1. Plan ahead, and plan a budget.  Not only for gifts, but also for food shopping, eating out, etc.  Start your gift shopping early and keep an eye on online shops and other catalogues for special offers.  If necessary write it in your diary for the coming year when to start thinking about Christmas lists and shopping.

    2. Making Christmas special for someone might be more about just putting in the time and effort to pay a visit, or telephone unexpectedly, or send a handmade card and family photo rather than an impersonal gift.

    3. Attend community Christmas events like the local Christmas Carols or Christmas concert, or a service at your local church.  If you have family members or friends in some sort of concert make an effort to go and watch them, it will be much appreciated.

    4. Keep expectations realistic throughout this time.  Appreciate that “daggy” gift from your grandmother.  Understand that everyone is hurried and stressed.  Keep in mind and respect that others might be on a tight budget.

    5. Plan some relaxation techniques for times of stress – deep breathing, visualizations, etc, can all help you to take a step back and think clearly and calmly.

    6. Try and get enough sleep, and don’t over-drink.  Easier said than done during the silly season, but these alone can contribute greatly to over-wrought situations.

    7. Finally, don’t expect miracles.  If you or a family member have indeed experienced a loss or difficult time, you can’t expect things to just “be better” at Christmas time.  Be patient, and allow for grieving.


    “Christmas Depression” is indeed a recognized syndrome, and one that is not to be taken lightly.  Suicide is at its highest rate of the year in this period, other people over-spend so much they are still in debt the following Christmas.  It can be hard to make changes when you think everyone else is so joyous, but don’t be fooled, those others may be having a tough time too.  So don’t hesitate to speak up during this time if you need to, and please, please reach out to those around you who so may desperately need it too.



    © Monique Nickalls BSc (hons) Dip Prof Couns JP (Qual) resides in Queensland and is a Mum of 3.  Monique writes parenting articles published by online and print publications and organisations such as PANDA, Mumzone, Your Child, Connect 2 Mums, WebDiagnosis, and many more.  She also spends her time running online baby store Your Cheeky Monkey as well as writing for the Your Cheeky Monkey Blog. Find Your Cheeky Monkey on Facebook for giveaways and updates!

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