Christmas is a holiday that evokes many emotions. Many loves it, some hate it, but for more and more people it causes performance anxiety and stress. Christmas is basically a Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but commerce has increasingly taken it over as its holiday. This is probably when we spend the most money. We buy decorations both indoors and outdoors, quantities of lighting, gifts in quantities and food in long runs. As social media has grown stronger and the clear majority of people post pictures and stories of their private life, a kind of competition has arisen about who has the best Christmas. But what is the best Christmas?

When I think back to the Christmases of my childhood, I remember them with light and joy. What above all gave me that feeling was having everyone in the family close to me. No job, no school, grandma always came to visit so everyone was present. We ate, played, laughed and had a good time together. It gave me many good memories and a good feeling. As a child I was not involved in the cooking and the gifts I bought were those I could afford no more. Sure, I wrote my own wish list, but not many wishes were fulfilled on it. From mom and dad, I used to get clothes and things that I needed, not necessarily what I wanted. From my siblings it was usually small, cheap things that they had money for or something they had made themselves. I remember that my mother’s aunt, who sometimes came to celebrate Christmas with us, usually gave us a crocheted tablecloth or an ornament that she had bought at the church bazaar. It was a wonderful Christmas.

As I’ve gotten older, Christmas has increasingly come to stand for something else, something that is no longer as pleasant and fun. It started already when the family began to split up. My siblings who moved away from home and formed their own families. My parents who divorced and moved in with new partners. Myself, who met a man with whom I had a child but who did not want to celebrate Christmas at all. The split has continued and when I think I have found a new way to celebrate with new people that I enjoy being with then there is always some new constellation that occurs. Someone falls away and new ones come along and that’s the course of life. What makes it harder and harder, however, is that you try to hold on to what has been. Trying to meet everyone that you have celebrated with before and the new ones that are coming. After separations and new family formations, there are too many and stress sets in instead.

The demands for a perfect Christmas have grown stronger and stronger and along with that my discouragement has increased. Everyone should get what is on their wish list regardless of how expensive it is otherwise the gift is not welcome. Everyone should have the food they want and are used to eating at Christmas. With many people suffering from various diseases and allergies, there are diets of various kinds. You can no longer make one dish for everyone, but there must be exceptions of various kinds. The traditional Christmas food stands for the food that makes many people sick and that nobody really feels well from, but by tradition we continue to eat it.

All the musts and demands around Christmas cause it to create more anxiety than joy. We should all think about what Christmas is and what it should stand for. Who are we doing it for and why? What is important?

As the stress in society has increased, it should be even more important that the Christmas break calm and relaxing. Let go of the demands, let go of the performance, let go of all the musts. Socialize in other ways, come up with something new, recharge your batteries and come back to work and school happy, refreshed with new good memories for life. It’s what Christmas should be.