Hello, it is the season of giving and the holiday pressure is building and that has been reflected in our postbag. In the UK, as soon as the Christmas season is over the shops start with Valentine’s Day promotions, then Mother’s Day, closely followed by Easter and then in September, Halloween starts as pumpkins and lots of orange clothing appear and after that the commercial bandwagon rolls straight into Christmas again. We all hoped that the pandemic has shown that simplicity is a way of life many crave and true connections with loved ones and our community matter. None of us wants to lead a commercially driven life. Love to you all. Tim and Jane. X
Christmas is coming again. My wife loves Christmas and I love her, but she wants to decorate the house and put the tree up now. It’s mid-November and too early for me. The glitter and tree needles drive me nuts. I have lost patience and feel like a grumpy old git. HG, Warrington
Tim: I’m with you buddy, drives me crazy. Sounds like a compromise is needed and soon.
Jane: Hello HG, I feel there may be added pressure on you this year and an old niggle is becoming the focus for this. I hear you on the early run-up to this holiday and the over-production of it all, which just adds to the madness. You have been through many additional and unexpected pressures with the pandemic since last year and this point of angst is about to burst. Let it burst, my lovely. Grab a notepad and write down every single grumpy thought and feeling you have. Get it all out. No one else will read this and your mind and system will thank you for off-loading it. Imagine that you are talking to an old friend, who will never, ever, mention any of it again. Screw up the pages and burn them. New grumps may arise, so repeat this process till you feel you’ve let it all out. Then ask your wife for one room in your home to be left Christmas free. Not a hint of glitter or tinsel to be seen in it. Make this your refuge and then when you feel you have the loving energy, vacuum the other rooms. Your wife will love you for it. Hugs to you, with love. x
My wife hosts Christmas every year and her Mum and Dad came over for Christmas Day. It is never calm and loving because, as a family, they never let each other speak. It’s a day full of noise and raised voices as everyone talks over everyone else. I take painkillers before they arrive and end up drinking too much Whiskey. I can’t face it this year and dream of disappearing and returning home the next day. The day never ends well, and I need more sensible options, please. KN, Toronto
Tim: Can of worms. Is there any way of breaking the routine? Have you suggested one year her way and the next year your way? Does she know what effect this has on you?
Jane: Hello KN, you are not alone in facing this scenario and ‘hats off’ to you for having the courage to reach out for help. Maybe you are not alone in wanting to escape the routine that Christmas Day has become for your extended family? I’ll make a few suggestions and hopefully, one of them will resonate for you and you’ll be able to make the change you need. How about suggesting a few days away, just you and your wife? May I also suggest not ‘fixing’ what her parents do but leaving a space for others to possibly step forward with offers? If that is not possible, then how about taking breaks during the day? A short walk in the morning and the afternoon. Maybe someone will join you but whatever happens, you will gift yourself some downtime and peace. Offer to wash up or clear up and escape to the peace of the kitchen. Suggest someone plays a game of chess or backgammon with you? Breaking the patterns that create the day may help to ease the tension building up for you. Finding a different way to frame the day, could gift you some relief from it all. If there is a homeless shelter or similar near you, offer to volunteer there for a few hours. The pandemic has shown us all that we can adapt and do things differently going forward. Whatever you choose to do, mixing up the routine will show you a way forward and maybe your wife or parents-in-law too. Hugs to you with love. x
Please feel free to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we wish you all a lovely week to come.
Tim & Jane. X