Festive overwhelm and how to deal with it.
Updated: Jan 13
3 more sleeps. 3 more advent gifts to tuck in to my children’s calendars. 2 more days of planning, juggling and logistics. One festive exodus to navigate. Then we have made it. Haven’t we?
I have to start by saying I adore Christmas. My house is fully decked on the 1st of December and I spend much of the second half of the year ramming my festive diary full of fun and frolics. I bake, sing and wrap with the best of them.
But this year I’m happy to admit I’m fully festive overwhelmed.
Maybe it’s my first Christmas as a mother of two, maybe it’s because I’m back to my rather busy day job in the world of advertising. Maybe it because I’m older and just a little more sleep deprived than previous years.
But for the first time I am viewing the arrival of Father Christmas (and collapsing on my mother in law’s sofa) as the end of a Yule Tide marathon!!!
I know I’m not alone. My insta feed is full of two sorts of posts. Those who gleefully show off their latest festive triumph...(insert Gingerbread house, wreaths or posed Christmas card here!!) I’m not judging, on a good day I too am that spirit of Christmas present.
The others are more honest accounts of the female festive burn out that I can certainly identify with.
Chatting with my own mum recently I found myself asking why on earth we do it? I feel like I’m in a self impost Christmas hurricane that I have willingly whipped up around myself. I just have to make it perfectly magical for EVERYONE around me!!!! All. The. Time.
The reality of course is I’m not really achieving that for the most important people. My husband for one would be happy if I did half the gifts and glitz and just sat down with a glass of wine. And my kids couldn’t really care less that I cut the sandwiches for the school party in to little Christmas tree shapes. They just want to hand out with mummy and cover the house in glitter.
So next year will I do it differently? Maybe. I love making this a special time of year for my family. But even I am starting to question the sanity of the ‘insta perfect Christmas’.
I am going to focus on what really matters. And obvious as it sounds that really is the time you spend being present, and actually enjoying yourself.
So I completely intend to cut corners. I will be buying the mince pies, and only making them if I want to. I will find ways to delegate, out source, or simply cut jobs from my monster to do list. I am going to be a lot more selective about which invitations I accept on the run up to Christmas, maybe I am getting old but an evening by my fire watching movies suddenly seems preferable to socialising for the sake of it. And lastly, I am going to prioritise self care. In this crazy season, eating well and sleeping enough can seem like a luxury but I for one would happily swap an evening out, or a tonne of stocking presents for 8 hours sleep and a long soak in the bath.
I would question my mental health at this point, or at least feel like a bit of a Scrooge, if it wasn't for the fact that I know many other women feel like this by this point in the year. One of my go to insta accounts for a good dose of reality, is the wonderful Anna Mathur. Anna recently posted some comments about just stepping off from the Christmas madness, and frankly if its good enough for a trained psychotherapist then its good enough for me.
So today, after rounding off work with one final meeting, which believe it or not we could find no other time for than the Sunday before Christmas, I’m pulling up the drawbridge. If it’s not been baked, bought or wrapped by now, it’s just not going to be. I’m signing off!
One thing I know whole heartedly is that we already have enough, give enough and do enough, so just living in the moment is the greatest present I could give myself.