Surviving the Run-Up to Christmas

Have you began to make preparations for Christmas yet? Perhaps you've finished your wrapping or perhaps you've barely started to think about it. It's certainly hard to deny that it can all become a little overwhelming at times but this great article by Aaron Joshua reminds what's really important this time of year... 

Surviving the Run-Up to Christmas 

The last few weeks before Christmas are a mixture of excitement, stress and a burning desire to not look at your bank again until January. Every year, the festive period seems to roll around quicker than the last, with retail outlets bringing out the tree and decorations almost as soon as we bid goodbye to summer.

Christmas can be difficult enough, but as anyone who is a parent to young children will confirm, making it out alive can be the best that we can hope for. All of the presents, all of the sugar, and all of the threats that Santa Claus won’t come if you don’t behave is a lot for anyone to digest.

Buying the Presents
Presents, presents, presents. So many to buy, so little money to buy them with. Those with large families understand the struggle of finding a gift for everyone that falls within budget, doesn’t look too cheap and, most importantly, is something they will actually like.

How early you begin Christmas shopping is an indication as to how organised you are. If you are one of those that, smartly, begin buying the odd present in August or September, then please disregard the next paragraph as this does not apply to you.

To those that wait until just a few weeks/days before Christmas to start buying your gifts, this is the beginning of the blind panic. Stock and availability of this year’s must-haves are low and it looks as though you will have a disappointed child on Christmas Day. Also, buying everyone’s presents in the same pay cheque seriously harms your bank balance – hello overdraft city. But, when it is all said and done and you have wrapped all of your presents, it’s all worth it, right?

As well as buying presents for everyone, the other traditions that we all swear buy is decorating our homes in brightly coloured festive d├ęcor and erecting a tree to boot. The other tradition, while carrying out this tradition, is for families to have a semi-serious argument about where to put said decorations.

It’s a joyous time and, with young children caught up in the magic of Christmas, seeing the decorations go up is about as exciting as it gets before the big day. This means that we are firmly on the road to Christmas, that Santa’s sleigh is being packed by his elves, and that it is socially acceptable to play Christmas music loud (because it truly isn’t Christmas until we hear Noddy Holder below out “it’s Chriiiiiiistmaaaaaas!”).

Away from the commercialisation of Christmas in its modern form, it is important to remember what the true meaning of the holiday is - to be thankful for those that we are surrounded by, and to look after one and other. People from all walks of life, whether they are Muslims giving Sadaqah, Christians providing a warm place for the homeless to stay or just making someone else’s day with a simple act of kindness, do their best to give back at this time of year.
Giving doesn’t necessarily mean spending big on the latest craze that will only end up gathering dust by the time February rolls around. Giving doesn’t even have to hold any monetary value whatsoever. Giving is providing someone a hot meal, warm clothes or simply your time. Something that truly makes a difference.

When we remember what the true meaning of Christmas is, suddenly, the trials and tribulations that come with preparing for the festive period wash away.