Have yourself a confident Christmas… November 30, 2017 – Posted in: Advice, Confidence, Personal Development, Relationships – Tags: acceptance, advice, authenticity, bath magazine, christmas, confidence, family, happiness, life, love, parenting, peace, perfectionism, relationships, stress
For those of you who regularly read my blog and my advice column you’ll know that I’m all about authenticity and being real. Why? Because perfectionism and mask-wearing are two of the biggest barriers to confidence that I’ve come across in my six years as a coach. I’ve worked with hundreds of people (probably thousands now) and they all tell me that pretending to be someone or something they’re not feeds their insecurities. And dismantles their sense of self.
So, how does this relate to Christmas? Because if you view, read or listen to any mainstream media (including social media) you will be bombarded with pressure to have a perfect festive season. But, guess what? The perfect Christmas is a myth just like the perfect life/size/relationship/childhood/career/person is also a myth.
In fact, perfection itself is a myth (because it’s so subjective) and one we need to drop if we are to truly enjoy the festivities (and the rest of our lives).
If I were to compare my Christmas to those I see on TV adverts I would certainly feel like mine doesn’t match up because I won’t be sitting around a table surrounded by 15-plus relatives spanning five generations! I won’t be serving six intricate courses and gallons of fine wine and coffee-cream liquor. I definitely won’t be wearing a sparkly little dress and towering heels. My build up to Christmas will also fall short because I won’t be attending several drunken Christmas parties (I just don’t enjoy them any more) and I won’t be spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds on shiny gadgets for my loved ones (or ordering a new sofa for that matter!).
Our build up will involve buying and dressing a tree with lots of decorations the children have made over the years and other cute, nostalgic bits and pieces we’ve collected. Our tree will win no design awards but we will love it nonetheless. We will take our annual walk around the local area to see our neighbours’ amazing Christmas lights. We’ll probably visit the Christmas Markets (we do live in Bath after all) and my girls will go to their school Christmas disco with their nails painted and glitter in their hair. They will return home red-faced, sweaty, and high from the sugar overload.
On Christmas Day, I will be sharing my three daughters with my ex-husband – it’s his turn to witness their Christmas morning stocking-opening (the best part of Christmas in my opinion). They will come to me after lunch and we’ll enjoy a late meal – that my boyfriend will cook 🙂 – with his two boys and my step-mother. Christmas Day will start with three of us and end with eight of us. The children will likely fight! There will probably be over-excited tears. There will be lots of lovely gift giving, chocolate eating, game playing, and TV watching. There will definitely be arguments over who washes up and who has to sort all the paper, plastic and cardboard into the recycling bins.
There will also be lots of cuddles and love and we’ll have a Santa re-visit Christmas night so the kids get a second stocking on Boxing Day (I’ll admit this is as much for my pleasure as theirs because I LOVE stocking shopping and seeing their little faces as they open them).
It’s a Christmas we’ve cobbled together as a cobbled-together family taking traditions from my childhood, my partner’s childhood, my step family, and my ex-husbands family. It’s not perfect by anyone else’s standards but it’s ours in all its imperfection and we love it because we’ll be together (and we will also find it exhausting because any time spent as an adult with five children is exhausting…)
I have clients who worry so much about giving their families a ‘perfect Christmas’ because they believe it’s their duty to do so. But, actually when we dig around a bit we see that giving your family the perfect Christmas is usually based on your own pride (“Our Christmas is better than yours”) and fear (“What will people think of me if my Christmas isn’t perfect?”). Who needs that kind of pressure? Your family certainly don’t want to spend the day (or the build-up) with a stress head who is more concerned with perfection than with them.
So, this Christmas please do what is going to make you and your family happy – whatever that means. Please scrap ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ because the Joneses don’t exist! Confidence at Christmas means allowing your best to be good enough. Small gifts chosen or made with love because you are short on cash are wonderful. Sausage and mash because no-one likes turkey – yummy. Calling off Christmas this year because you are grieving and can’t face it – the right choice for you. Having Christmas Day on 23rd because you are working 25th – sounds great to me!
Christmas comes in all shapes and sizes and usually looks nothing like the propaganda fed to us from so many quarters. I have an old and much loved friend who hasn’t had her own children and her partner’s kids are grown up so they choose to spend Christmas Day together “in their pants” as she says. By which she means they sit in their pyjamas slowly getting tiddly, watching rubbish in TV and eating cheese. Now that’s what I call perfect!
With my love x
Julie Kortens December 05, 2017 - 11:22
Thanks Jo. So good to hear somebody putting Christmas in perspective this way….. I always think about the people who don’t have friends and family and the pressure they’re under too. Merry Christmas!