Christmas stories

……of Christmas past and present

Christmas 2012 – both Christmas Day and Boxing Day them self were stress free, it’s the build up to them that seemed stressful, regardless of how little importance I’ve attached to them over the years, somehow the thought that shops will be shut for two whole days, fills many people, including myself,with panic and by the look on their faces, desperation. One of our comments feedback for an earlier post about general stress, referred to the possibility that some Xmas stress results from feeling  that our gift giving may not have much monetary value compared to those we receive.

For me the convenience of local corner shops and petrol station , although offering only limited food stuffs, at greater expense than the supermarkets, are so convenient. I don’t resent the extra few pennies because they truly deliver a service, I’ve known the shop owners and the take-a-way owners for the 20 plus years I’ve lived in the neighbourhood. This Xmas Day, one was open 8.30.a.m. ,both all day Boxing Day together with the take-a ways, no need to starve, for myself I’m happy to forgo the traditional roast meals until the the bigger shops are open again, or easier still, as I probably will,  have it out! at non Christmas prices. If you have limited time off because of work commitments, feelings of obligation to entertain or be part of other people’s festivities, the pressure is on……of course some find the tradition pleasurable.

I found both days very relaxing and enjoyable, having refused  invites for dinner and wanting to be at home, with flexibility about whether people popped in or shared simple non traditional food. No definite plans were made until the day, the people who came and I, shared a little more of our personal stories, discussed our experience with mental distress and what might contribute to maintaining our well being iin the year to come, there were more philosophical discussions about the complexity of intimate relationships…….as Pa Larkin, ‘Darling buds of May’ and a new found friend frequently says, …perfect! ….yes it was a perfect Christmas….but I still feel a sense of relief that it’s over, possibly that is something to do with my ‘Christmas past’

Boxing Day 1958

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looking as if enjoying the festivities, the photograph hides the reality of  troubled lives, two,were affected seriously by mental and emotional distress and the little girl…..me……. went on to be similarly affected, albeit well into mid life, then I could truly sympathise with my brother and mothers experience.I do not hold with the theory,particularly prominent at the time that mental illness ‘ran in families’ …genetic. I have always railed against that idea, I don’t claim to have a clear alternative opinion of the causes or solutions.

Lily P

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