Sea­sonal stress re­moves Christ­mas sparkle

Bray People - - OPINION - with Deb­o­rah Cole­man

FIG­URES re­leased this week es­ti­mated that most Ir­ish house­holds will spend at least € 600 at Christ­mas.

I hate to say it but I think that an aw­ful lot of fam­i­lies will spend con­sid­er­ably more, and that’s not even for an all-singing, all-danc­ing af­fair.

De­pend­ing on the size of the fam­ily Christ­mas din­ner alone is a costly ex­er­cise, nev­er­mind all the presents, cards, tree, dec­o­ra­tions, Santa vis­its and pos­si­ble travel ex­penses.

Christ­mas gets big­ger and big­ger ev­ery year and there is no sign of the hype abat­ing.

I love Christ­mas and this time of year but there’s no denying that if we al­low it, the sea­son can cre­ate a ter­ri­ble amount of stress. The minute Hal­lowe’en is over and some­times even sooner the Christ­mas frenzy be­gins.

I loathe how crowded shops and towns get with ev­ery­one rush­ing around, push­ing and shov­ing in the hope of cross­ing another item off their ever-grow­ing list.

Ev­ery year I get a long­ing to stroll down Grafton Street un­der the twin­kling lights with Christ­mas mu­sic play­ing to soak up the fes­tive spirit.

This im­age is al­ways swiftly erased by the crowds, im­pa­tience and dis­com­fort that seems to emerge and wors­ens with ev­ery pass­ing De­cem­ber day.

It turns from a dream to a night­mare or epic proportions and more of­ten than not the car park­ing, or lack of it swiftly takes the shine off the sea­sonal good­will far too early for my lik­ing.

I don’t think this fig­ure of €600 would go any­where near cov­er­ing the cost it takes to stage the big, beau­ti­ful Christ­mas that we all strive to achieve and that is be­cause, cliche as it sounds no money in the world will do this.

Of course, Christ­mas din­ner is some­thing that most of us can look for­ward to and ex­chang­ing gifts with our loved ones but the most im­por­tant thing is that we are there to­gether to do so.

Dur­ing the hus­tle and bus­tle it is easy to get wrapped up in lists and the count­less things to do than rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to take time out and ac­tu­ally share the sea­son, which is a re­li­gious one, with our near­est and dear­est. After all, the whole thing is point­less if by the time De­cem­ber 25 comes around we are too tired, stressed and broke to en­joy it.

Christ­mas din­ner is one of the main ex­penses over the fes­tive sea­son.

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