(This post has been slightly updated from November 2012 but is more relevant than ever.)
It used to be a time of celebration, an opportunity for friends and family to get together, a time to think about the first Christmas and the greatest gift of all. These days, Christmas has simply become a deadline.
Get it Finished
We have to have so much finished ‘before Christmas’. We want carpets laid, walls painted, projects finished, buildings built and so much more all before the 25th of December.
Retailers tell us we must order now for delivery before Christmas, which I can understand to some degree if it’s something you want as a gift, but most of the time they’re just using the mention of Christmas to add urgency to their sales pitch.
Tradesmen are pushed to complete tasks that really have no relation to Christmas. Whether they’re completed before or after any particular date doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but those paying the bills want their projects all sewn up before the big day. Many workers are feeling the pressure to get the job done before Christmas.
Then there’s the pressure we put on ourselves. We must ensure that everything’s perfect for the big day. We turn ourselves inside out to make sure that we’re ready for those who will share Christmas Day with us. Gifts, food, decorations, drinks, the list goes on. It’s really no wonder that the ‘Joy of Christmas’ has given way to the stress of what’s become known as the silly season.
Back when I used to work on radio, my regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM was Rev Dr Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales. Each week we chatted about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.
About five years ago we spoke about Christmas as a deadline. You can hear our conversation by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post. If you’re looking for ways to turn the tide and make Christmas something you can look forward to again, make sure you take a few minutes to listen.
Slow Down – You Move Too Fast
So, have you felt the stress rising already? Have you ever stopped to ask whether the deadline you’ve given yourself is just a false deadline? Will it make any difference at all if it happens after Christmas?
Is Christmas a restful or stressful time for you? What plans are you putting in place this year to ensure that you actually enjoy Christmas instead of racing at warp speed until you collapse in a heap on the 26th of December?