Does December feel like something you just have to ‘get through’? Take our quiz to find out how to get your festive spirit back…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? But if Christmas has lost its sparkle, fear not, there are plenty of ways to refocus on what really matters to you. The first step?
Accept how you’re feeling right now, says b+s psychologist Jacqui Manning. “It’s important to acknowledge you’re in a difficult emotional moment, but that’s OK. As the saying goes, this too shall pass.” Then it’s a matter of pondering your Christmas ideals to find your way back to feeling the joy.
Our easy quiz will help put all things festive in perspective. Tick off the answers that apply to you, then read the notes for the letter (or letters) you answered most often.
1. How do you prepare and get organised for Christmas Day?
A I start shopping months beforehand to be finished by December 1.
B I like to make my own presents and decorations.
C I ignore it ’til the last two weeks and then I get super stressed.
D I only have a few presents to get and I don’t ever host, so I don’t really have to ‘prep’.
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2. When you first see Christmas displays at the supermarket, you feel…
A Happy, because seeing this stuff gives me ideas for what I can do.
B A bit outraged – I hate that the shops start Christmas earlier each year.
C Annoyed, because I don’t want to even think about Christmas yet.
D Nothing much at all.
3. What’s your attitude to Christmas decorations?
A They take over the house, which I love!
B I like making my own wreaths and using the tree ornaments from my childhood.
C I’ll use whatever’s in the box.
D I do a few lights but no tree because there’s not much to put under it.
4. You’re invited to a friend’s beach house for Christmas. Will you go?
A I’m flattered to be included, but will turn it down as it’s not a ‘proper’ Christmas unless my family is there.
B No, because I want to do my own Christmas Day traditions with my loved ones.
C I don’t know. I’m torn between wanting a fun Christmas and dreading all the extra presents I’ll need to buy.
D Absolutely. I feel included and excited about Christmas for once!
5. What would your perfect Christmas Eve involve?
A Cosying up with my partner and taking pictures of the kids preparing for Santa’s big visit.
B Playing my favourite old-school Christmas songs on the record player and making eggnog and mince pies.
C Going to bed early (and not staying up half the night wrapping presents and prepping the Christmas meal).
D Being in the same place as all my friends so we can have a big night out.
6. How do you feel when the presents are being opened?
A Everyone’s going to love my presents, I hope I get to see them all being opened.
B I can’t believe how much my siblings spent on presents for their kids – they’ve gotten so much crap!
C I bet some people are disappointed with my presents because I couldn’t think of the right thing to give them.
D I wonder if I’ll actually get the present I want this year
7. At the end of Christmas Day, how do you normally feel?
A Like it was over too quickly and I didn’t get to have half the conversations I wanted
B A bit guilty for all the wrapping paper wasted and I’ve also got a strong desire to declutter, too.
C Exhausted but also relieved – there’s another 12 months before I have to go through something this intense again.
D I’m happy that things are almost back to normal… just got to get through New Year’s Eve as a singleton first!
8. You would enjoy the whole Christmas period more if …
A I could spend more quality time with my loved ones and not feel like I’ve spread myself too thin.
B It didn’t get built-up for months beforehand by the big brands wanting to cash in.
C I had less on my to-do list and more time for just me.
D I had a partner I could share the parties and the events with.
If you scored…
You enjoy Christmas through others
While it’s great to care about others’ needs at Christmas, giving too much can make Christmas less merry for you. “Don’t lose yourself,” Manning warns. “Don’t run yourself ragged while you’re giving to others.” During prep time, be kind to yourself – book in a facial or enjoy a quick nap. On the day, carve out some time when you down tools and be with your loved ones uninterrupted.
You like your Christmas low-key
Traditions matter to you, but it feels harder to hold on to them in a world of commercialisation.
Can you guard what’s important without becoming a grinch? “Don’t be too militant, as it can spoil the joy for your children,” Manning says. Focus, don’t fight. “Look for an activity you can do together instead of extra presents; you could also organise a Kris Kringle, so you don’t feel like all you do is open presents all day.”
Christmas stresses you out
Feeling anxious about Christmas can play out by avoiding it and then becoming super stressed.
“I think that we have a lot of anxiety attached to decision-making around Christmas,” Manning notes. “But the truth is our anxiety subsides when we make a decision. So trust your judgement and go with your first instinct for a gift.” Start Christmas Day with a calming walk or playing with your dog, then set aside some quiet time for the presents.
You feel forgotten at Christmas
“If you don’t have a partner, it can be a super painful time of year,” says Manning. “But know that you’re not alone in feeling this way.” It’s good to acknowledge that you’re feeling fragile, but the best way to combat Christmas blues is to spend time with someone else who needs help.
“Just a few hours with a Christmas charity is a wonderfully rewarding experience,” says Manning. And don’t be afraid to buy yourself a special present, either. “It can serve as an important reminder that things will get easier.”