Christmas comes early

Not now, Santa.

It's no coincidence that the last two years have seen Christmas arriving earlier than ever. In the wake of a global pandemic, we could all do with a bit of festive cheer… right? But that's not all Christmas brings, is it? With pressure to keep up with the Joneses and the assault of online advertising encouraging us to spend big, the messaging of big brands goes entirely against the experiences that many of us have lived through over the last two years.

On the one hand, Christmas is about festive cheer and spending time with family. And yet, from the start of November, we’re bombarded with promotions encouraging us to part with money we might not even have. Either way, it's easy to fall into the habit of feeling inadequate or even guilty for not being able to meet the unattainable standards set out by marketing campaigns and social media highlights reels.

In recent years, I’ve realised that Christmas is really what you make it. You can pick and choose which parts of the festive season you want to partake in and which aren’t any good for you.

Don’t want to put your tree up until the week before? Or don’t want to have a tree at all? That’s fine. Prefer a Secret Santa for your family over scrambling to buy everyone something unique? Good plan. Want to cook your favourite meal instead of picking at dry turkey on the big day? You do you.

Before making any decision this season, consider why you are doing that thing… is it something you really want to do? Or are you bowing to festive pressures to keep other people happy?

After everything we've been through over the last couple of years, I think the biggest lesson of Christmas is that there are no required fields, no necessary obligations and absolutely no reason to spend more than you can afford to keep other people happy.

Do it your way.

Let me know over on Twitter some of your unusual festive traditions, or perhaps something you'll be doing differently this year - you can find me @ContentByTheSea or reply to this email for a confidential chinwag.

📚 Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune - The latest release by the author of one of my favourite books of all time, The House on the Cerulean Sea. UTWD tells the story of Wallace, a grumpy lawyer who dies suddenly and finds himself in a remote teahouse navigating life, death, love and crossing to the other side. Highly recommend.

That’s all from me this week, see you next Wednesday for more discussions about mental health and work in the online world.

Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:

10 November: Does size matter?

5 November: Consistency is overrated

27 October: Winter is coming whether you like it or not

20 October: I got sick

13 October: This girl is me

6 October: Everything is awful… or is it?

29 September: That’s dope

22 September: Have a word with yourself

15 September: Running changed my life

8 September: Okay, boomer

25 August: Bridezilla returns