The time of Christmas and New Year can be troublesome. I’ll provide a couple of examples, and offer some ideas on what you can do to make this a good time for people around you!
Certainly, some people don’t care for it at all and are fine doing stuff on their own. If they get time off work during the period, those people will be the ones going on a nice cycling or hiking holiday. Awesome. But that’s not everybody.
- There are lots of social activities. Some people don’t want to partake in big events, but would be fine with something small.
Invite a friend (yes, an individual one) over for dinner or another explicitly small activity. This means you’re specifically making time for them: it shows real care.
- Many social events have costs (gifts, food at a restaurant, drinks in a cafe) and it all adds up – for many this is a significant burden, and it becomes a toss up between feeling left out, or potentially overextending financially. You can imagine how the choice alone makes for stress and anxiety.
If you do a potluck style event, people can bring something small or home made, or do something else to contribute. When going out, there are also ways to be inclusive without creating awkwardness.
- Around Christmas, “everybody” tends to be busy with their family. But what if you don’t have nearby family? You can be on-your-own throughout the year, but that’s not the same as being-alone while you know “everybody else” is having fun. It’s fairly crap. This is of course relevant whether or not you care about Christmas as an institution.
Of course it’s not always suitable to have a “stranger” partake in say a family dinner, but hey with some families that works perfectly – please do it then!
Perhaps you can do a more general event on another day, and invite a few extra friends.
- A single parent can find it difficult to participate in adult-only events (who will be available to mind the smurfs?), and some activities you’d normally undertake with other parents tend to not happen at this time because they’re busy or away. If you’re one of those other parents, perhaps you can find time to do those things together anyway, and suggest some playdates and sleepovers! It’s fun for you and the kids, but it’s so easy to forget with lots of things going on.
People regard it as a time of caring, but restrict it to a very restricted subset. I do understand why that occurs, the time can be ridiculously demanding and overwhelming. Expectations…
Tweak “the rules”!
- Stuff the complaining retailers, you don’t have to buy everything that’s advertised. And, home made gifts are extra awesome.
- If you don’t like spending time with your relations, don’t!
You pick your own friends, organise something! You can always pretend you got that special invite from one of the others, providing you with an excellent excuse to pike out of the family event “for once”.
- Look around you, add to your own family as you see fit.
You will know people around you for whom these things can make all the difference – with a few thoughts and actions you can make extra awesomeness this year!
(comments and extra suggestions welcome, as always)