For our December Topic of Conversation, we are continuing to explore the Expectation in Celebration. Therefore, as we are nearing that time of year where large numbers of people around the world look forward to a break from their usual busy work schedule to gather with family and friends to ‘eat, drink and be merry’, we are also reminded that for some, this Christmas and New Year season is not always heaps of fun and in fact, can be an extremely lonely or stressful time.
Though there are many who find this time of year difficult, the bulk of the population of the western world goes into overdrive with this festive season. There is decorating the house in tinsel and holly, Christmas cards written and posted (though now-a-days many do this via email), the last-minute gift buying and many conversations for the planning and preparation. Much food and drink are stockpiled so no one is caught short and running out over that week of festivities, which results in lots of food preparation and cooking to be attended to, so everything is ready for the occasion.
One can feel the exhilaration and excitement building as Christmas Eve draws near as people prepare for the celebration, and while many will say they’ve had an amazing time and can’t wait to do it all again, there’s also a very palpable feeling of a ‘drop’ in vitality after it is all over. This ‘drop’ can feel different to each person. Some might say there’s a sense of aloneness, others may feel a little depressed or melancholy while others might explain that they just feel tired and relieved it’s ‘done’ for another year.
What is it that drives this ‘Christmas mania’, and on balance, are they always the happy events people are hoping to enjoy? What happens for people when these long-awaited celebrations and gatherings don’t live up to their expectation?
Sandra comments that “My most memorable Christmas was when my Dad and I spent the day on our sailing boat with just ourselves and a pack of homemade sandwiches. It was the connection we had that I so enjoyed and the opportunity of being together with very little to do.”
What are your experiences of Christmas and other celebrations? We invite you to share your comments and ideas, what you’ve noticed about celebration and the expectations it holds for yourself and those around you.