Less ho ho ho, more woe woe woe

At the moment we can't turn on the TV, radio, or open a newspaper without being bombarded of images of the 'perfect'  Christmas.  Perfectly done turkey, laughter, Christmas cheer and cherubic rosy-cheeked children.

However, I don't believe the perfect Christmas exists.  Well, it does, but on the silver screen, not in reality.  Now I'll be upfront with you; I love Christmas.  I love everything about it; the food and drink, being with loved ones, not to mention that 'warm glow' from watching people unwrap the gifts you've lovingly chosen for them.

Despite this, me and Christmas have had a falling out the last couple of years.  Last year, my Granny on my Mum's side passed away 10 days before Christmas.  Although we knew it was coming, it didn't make things any easier.  I remember after I came off the phone to my My Mum, switching on the radio to hear the line 'simply having a wonderful Christmas time.'  Talk about juxtaposition.

Christmas 2010 was also a bit of a grumpy old Christmas, first of all it was that awful winter where snow and ice meant I almost didn't get there, me and my Dad spent Christmas morning walking at a snail's pace up the middle of the road, to my Nan's house to swap presents.  To add to the festive frivolity, all my family had colds which I caught within 24 hours of being down south, and were all utterly miserable for a day or two.

There's a reason there are more suicides and break ups at Christmas than any other time of year; ridiculously heightened expectations.  We spend days, weeks, most likely months now filling our faces with festive foods, only for the supermarkets to do an about turn in the New Year and start telling us how we can be healthier and lose our post-Christmas pounds!  We hunt for the perfect gifts, that we are sold the myth will make our loved ones Christmas, when really some quality time with the ones we love is the best - and most importantly free gift we can ever give.

In effect, we are sold the Hollywood Christmas: where the whole family is wearing brand new outfits, when in reality you have to change into your old faithful tracksuit bottoms just to let your stuffed stomach breath(or is that just me), where the cook never gets food on their perfect apron or burns anything, when the real picture is your kitchen looks like a bomb's hit it when everything's ready, where everyone is reunited at the last minute against all the odds, to the reality of always having someone to miss.

That's the crux of Christmas;clever marketing and nostalgic music and movies, mean we put too much pressure on oursleves.  What we need to do is lower the pressure, pour a large glass of wine, and have the best Christmas we can.

We need to remember not everybody can or will be with their loved ones at Christmas.  Some will be handling bereavements, and I know from experience as many others do, the first Christmas without somebody is hard.  Others won't be able to have everyone they love in the same place, a feeling I also know too well.  I can't think of Christmas without remembering Peter Kay's Christmas sketch about carrying dining chairs up the road, to make sure everyone has somewhere to sit to eat their Christmas dinner.  A far more real representation of the festive season; mirth, chaos, and good old fashioned fun.

So here's to a cracking Christmas, expect chaos, and hopefully some Christmas cheer too...


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