Christmas is galloping towards us at an alarming rate, and love it or hate it, there's no escaping it.
So here are 10 blog posts full of useful ways you can make your Christmas the best it can be, whatever your circumstances.
No matter what your income, Christmas can (and often does) strain the budget and despite knowing Christmas is on 25th December EVERY December, it can still creep up and take us unawares.
January is a bleak enough month already without receiving a credit card bill that got out of hand, so how can you enjoy Christmas without breaking the bank?
Here's how to have a fabulous Christmas without feeling like scrooge!
Christmas is a time of tradition, and we love it!
From the traditions we all have, like a tree and Santa, to the traditions different countries have, like food and songs right down to those silly family Christmas traditions - the time and method of opening gifts, what's eaten for lunch, games, knowing that great aunt Flossie will drink too much sherry, fall asleep and snore - it's all good.
Sometimes though traditions aren't so good - sibling rivalry, family feuds and criticism are Christmas traditions you could do without.
How can you handle change at Christmas?
Aah, the perfect family Christmas. Twinkly houses, roaring fires, people smiling lovingly at each other whilst taking a family walk in Christmas jumpers after lunch.
Oh wait, that was a Christmas advert. Sorry. They are sooooo lifelike (not!).
When images of perfect families and great friends are all around us, what happens when you spend Christmas on your own?
Here are 14 suggestions just for you.
You love your family, of course you do. But you especially love them in small doses and you can escape if it all get's too much.
If you're an introvert and aren't used to being in such close proximity to so many people, you can feel your batteries draining quickly. It all feels claustrophobic and stressful and you want to get away.
How do you cope?
It's easy to overeat at Christmas. Expected even. I mean, you've been given permission as it's officially a feast time.
As you lounge about watching TV, you're inner monologue goes 'Just one more Chocolate, and then I'll stop. Definitely, this time. Mmm...that was yummy.... ok, one more, then that's it...'
Remembering loved ones
Christmas can be a time of joy, but the loss of a loved one can make Christmas a time of sadness and stress.
Whether bereaved recently or many years ago, memories of Christmas past aren't far away, and can bring sadness.
It's normal, it's understandable.
What's the best way to deal with it?
Picture this: you're driving to see family for Christmas. Sparkly nail polish - check. Rudolf 'flashing nose' earrings on - check. Cheesy Christmas songs on the radio - check. Enormous tub of chocolates - check.
The boot is full of carefully chosen and beautifully wrapped presents and you smile in anticipation of your loved ones opening them and being delighted. Despite the mucky weather and traffic jams you feel happy, and at peace with the world.
What could possibly go wrong?
Your guide to slowing down
Does Christmas ever feel...well, rushed? A to-do list a mile long, battling through traffic, stuffy shops, crowded supermarkets, then the annual terror of getting the Christmas decorations from storage and hoping they haven't become a home for spiders <shiver>
There's clearing a years clutter from the spare room ready for guests, parties to attend, nativity plays, cards to write, presents to wrap, Christmas fairs...look, I could go on, but just writing that's made me exhausted!
Not only does all that sound like pretty hard work, it's really not very magical.
So let's get the magic back.
Christmas is over for another year, and as you pack away the decorations you sigh - the house looks so empty! It seems dull and cold - in fact after all the build up to the big event, everything seems flat, with just work and new years resolutions to look forward to.
Jeez, that sounds bleak!
How can you fight off the post Christmas blues?
New year resolutions: because January simply doesn't feel bleak enough!
Now I'm not against making new year resolutions, but I am against the punishing nature of most of them: give up something you enjoy, or starting to do something you don't.
Pah! It should be the other way around!
I mean come on, is that how you want your year to be, denying or punishing yourself?
I prefer something a little more gentle, a little more kind. Something more to do with empowerment, self love, acceptance.
So here are 5 new year resolutions to make you feel good.
I really hope you've enjoyed this series of blog posts, which I put together to address some common issues around the Christmas period. You now have some tips and ideas to help you, no matter what your circumstances, so think about your Christmas and plan how to make it the best you can.
All that's left to say is Happy Christmas!
And if you're dreading your Christmas for any reason this year, don't struggle on alone, contact me now.
Jane Travis is a qualified and experienced counsellor and clinical supervisor in the Lincoln area. She has been working at Reflections Counselling Lincoln since 2005. She also helps other counsellors and therapists market and grow their private practices at JaneTravis.co.uk.
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