Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

The negative effects of Christmas

There is so much focus on the positives of Christmas yet there are many negative effects of Christmas. It almost seems as if the original reason for Christmas has long been forgotten and it’s all about gifts and spending money these days. Of course, Christmas can be a wonderful time for seeing family and connecting with friends. I’m not referring to the goodwill at Christmas. There are many kindhearted people who think of those who have less and do what they can to help.

The negative effects of Christmas often get overlooked. People are expected to have a good time yet the truth is that there is a lot of misery on this planet and Christmas can reinforce this stark contrast.

Loneliness is highlighted

If you are alone, Christmas can highlight this feeling of isolation. There are Christmas adverts of people with their families. The traditional family scenes abound everywhere and for those who don’t have anyone to share Christmas with, these joyful family scenes can leave them feeling lonely. We all like to feel included and when it seems as if the world is having a party that you aren’t invited to, it can hurt.

Feeling left out

FOMO – or fear of missing out. This is seasn where social comparisons are heightened. Who is doing what for Christmas? This can be a time of year when we feel we have to keep up with others and have as much fun as others. Of course, this pressure isn’t obligatory but it seems to be human nature – the competitive streak can win.

More stress

Even though Christmas is supposed to be a fun time, the reality is that it is often more stressful than fun. Deciding who will cook Christmas lunch, having to make extra preparations. Having to spend time with Aunt Doris who you don’t get on with and so on… Christmas undoubtedly causes a lot of stress, it certainly isn’t all fun and laughter as the media would have us believe.

Bad situations can be reinforced

If you are in an unhappy marriage, Christmas can worsen the situation. Families end up spending more time together and if there are relationship problems, Christmas can really bring them out into the open. In fact, apparently divorce lawyers have their busiest month in January!

We all feel pressure to be happy at Christmas but this yearly event can never paper over the cracks of life. It can provide a temporary distraction but that’s about all. Lonely people generally feel lonelier and underlying problems often come to a head during the festive season.

So, if Christmas isn’t your favourite time of year, remember that you aren’t alone. Fortunately there are many charities that offer Christmas lunch/events and there are very many good Samaritans that offer others less fortunate a seat at their Christmas table. Hats off to you – that’s the real spirit of Christmas…

Mandy X



Photo by Marina Khrapova on Unsplash

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