Christmas isn't all fairy lights and brightly-wrapped gifts under the tree. For some, it's a time of year to endure rather than enjoy.
If you count yourself among those who find this time of year difficult, take heart. You are not alone and it’s completely normal to have mixed feelings about the festive season.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s perfectly fine not to love Christmas:
1. Family gatherings
Not everyone’s family is the picture-perfect ‘end-of-movie’ version in most holiday films. If the thought of being around your parents and siblings for ten days straight puts you one edge, you’re not alone.
Take part in the board games and the meals but if things get heated or you find yourself getting upset by someone’s behaviour, remove yourself from the situation.
2. Gift giving
Buying gifts for people is stressful, especially if you don’t get pocket money or have to work out a strict budget for friends and family. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to afford a day or night out with your friends, ask them if you can do something that doesn’t cost much to celebrate like going to a Christmas market instead of going to the cinema or for a meal.
Grief always hits hardest around Christmas time because there is such a strong emphasis on meeting up with friends and family. If someone close to you has died in the last year or two, don’t be afraid to show your emotions. Cry it out, write in your diary or talk to someone about how you’re feeling instead of bottling everything up inside.
4. Unhealthy comparisons
There are few things worse than having a miserable time and then going on social media and seeing everyone else having the ‘best day ever’ with magazine-like plates of food on the table and everyone bedecked in ‘hilarious’ paper crowns, antlers or jingle-bell hats! Remember, social media is an edited illusion. People frame their lives so you only see the good – you’ve no idea what goes on behind closed doors or Instagram filters.
5. Break in routine
Maybe you don’t like Christmas because it’s a complete break in your everyday routine! Being off school, eating chocolate for breakfast and staying up ‘til all hours of the night might seem like fun at first but after a week or so, you start feeling the effects – and they’re not great!
Don’t feel bad if a small part of you can’t wait to get back to your regular routine – most of us secretly feel that way too!