Christmas this year is most likely going to look quite different to usual. Although the ‘rule of 6’ and travel restrictions are to be lifted across the country, experts are urging caution, with many saying that they personally will not be holding in-person celebrations this year. A recent ONS survey found that fewer people plan to carry out their usual Christmas activities this year. Roughly 50% of people said they had plans to form a bubble over the Christmas period; this is a substantial drop on previous years where over 90% of people said that they would get together with friends and family.
While tradition can be a great thing, over 2/3 of people polled in an Irish survey back in 2018 said that they found the Christmas period to be stressful. The top worries focused on money and family, with respondents saying that they worried about how to afford gifts for their families. Arguments and conflict were also commonly cited as causes of stress throughout the holiday period. This year has been an ‘unprecedented’ year, so perhaps it’s time to start new traditions and take some of the pressure off? Many of us already have too many things on our plate, between work woes, finances and the ongoing restrictions which prevent regular contact with friends and family.
With virus case numbers surging across most of the UK, and the promise of widespread vaccinations on the horizon, it might be time to take stock of the future. If you were to take some time and think about what you’d really like to communicate to your family and friends over the festive season, what would truly be important? If you’re worried about finances, perhaps this year is the perfect time to renegotiate gift buying within your friends or family group.
This has been a year where community support and mutual aid have been more apparent than ever, so perhaps part of the re-imagining of Christmas might contain a flavour of volunteering or contributing to community. Did you know that volunteering can boost both your mental and physical health? Rather than buying gifts, the extra time we are all at home might be better used to strengthen ties with family, friends and the wider community.
Some people will benefit from additional support throughout the holiday season to help them manage their anxiety, stress and feelings of isolation. Talking therapies have been proven to help relieve anxieties, stress and depression and the NCH has 2,000 qualified therapists across the UK who can help.
Wishing you a safe and happy festive season in 2020.