Rising Festive Pressure? Antidotes & Alternatives

Rising Festive Pressure? Antidotes and Alternatives on top of photo of snowy evergreen branch

Festive times can be full of joy but also full of challenges.

I can’t speak to the larger issue behind that here as the time for prevention is not, I believe, during the stressful time. This is a time for action, for an alternative option. I have a suggestion – Let’s opt out as much as possible.

Want to join me? Here’s my plan:

No Present Pressures

The fact is, even if I were to get lots of things this season, I can only play with one thing at one time. I can only read one book, listen to one piece of music, enjoy one space at a time. So maybe there’s no need for lots of things. If you want something, maybe you can have the thing you want and enjoy it now.

The thing is, there’s a part of me, a young, joyous, magpie part of me that LOVES presents. I love shiny, pretty, glittering, exciting, surprising new things. And I want to honour that part. So if you’ve bought me a gift, thank you, and I’m sure I’ll love it.

If gift giving works for you – go for it. I utterly love gifts, after all, I do own a bespoke gift box company.

So how are we opting out of the festive pressure? What are we focussing in instead this festive season? Well, experiences. Enjoying what we have.

– We will spend time curled up by the fire, enjoying time with the books and audios we already have but haven’t had a chance to use yet.

– We plan to play board games (we already have quite a stack) and listen to carols on the radio.

–  I want to continue working on my paintings-in-progress and playing my instruments.

– We can go and get a Yule branch, bring it home, decorate it and enjoy the twinkling lights and all our favourite ornaments

– We’ll go for a walk with the dogs, all wrapped up and go and see the horses, give them festive hugs and attention and then come home to a warm house and light a big fire.

– We can make a special lunch, have fun planning it, making it and eating food that feels good in our bodies.

– We can celebrate the season, the shortest day, by hibernating and resting, by being gentle with our beautiful bodies and resting in the restorative darkness.

– We can end the day by candle light, computer free, and peaceful. We can think of the light returning and give thanks.

If you aren’t feeling festive, if your tree isn’t up (mine isn’t), if you haven’t got all your gifts sorted and cards sent (not me), if the pressure to ‘Have Fun’ and make it, manifest it, master it into the ‘Best Christmas Ever’™ is making you feel sick (oh yes) then feel free to join me over here in the land of ‘That’s OK’.

We are human. The idea that we need to squeeze all of our joy, community, togetherness, family time, gifting, receiving, generosity, visiting, volunteering and new year planning and manifesting into one month feels to me like a form of violence. No, thank you.

I often look to animals for wisdom, to my dogs and horses, to my own animal body. What do they do?

In the winter, they curl up more, sleep more, enjoy being warm. They don’t try to walk or trek further than they ever have before. They don’t set meridia. They follow the seasons with their bodies. I am following that example.

In the spring, when the world starts to wake up, the greening and the quickening time comes, they’ll be excited to try new adventures, but for now, we all need to store our energy and nurture ourselves to get through the winter. Without the fallow period, new plans won’t grow.

What’s pressuring you this festive season? And what could your antidote be?