Why Christmas Matters

This month I’m going to reflect on why Christmas matters. There will be plenty of spiritual reflections on this subject, so I will take a psychological one. Why it matters is different for everyone but there are common threads.

We are social animals and Christmas is a time for friends and family. Being part of a social network is fundamental to us as humans. Without that contact we fail to thrive. The round of parties and dinners is about making that contact. Yes, it can also be stressful and impact the liver and waistline, but fundamentally it’s about renewing social ties and feeling part of a community. We give presents as an exchange of thoughtfulness and friendship and send cards to remember people we don’t often get to see. While the commercial side of Christmas can cloud this, it doesn’t make the action of giving and receiving less potent.

Christmas is also a festival that marks the dark part of the year with a celebration of light and life. It punctuates the rain and cold with a burst of light and sparkle. The holiday can give a much needed rest, or at least change of pace. As part of the passage between years which includes New Year, Christmas orientates us to the future and helps shake off the energy of the old year.

Christmas will have a personal meaning for you, possibly related to what it was like when you were a child. Sometimes this will be a feeling of being loved, valued or a remembrance of wonder and excitement. You may have other, less happy associations or memories.

Our culture drenches Christmas with the expectation of family, friends, giving and receiving and celebration. This makes it a particularly difficult time of year if you are alone, unable to afford the basic trappings, or if your experience of a family Christmas has been different from what it is ‘meant’ to be. Difficult experiences can really stand in our way of enjoying what we might. People around may be confused if they don’t understand why Christmas is not a great time of the year for us. I used to work with homeless people for whom Christmas was a stark reminder of what they did not have.

Whatever your experience of Christmas it is likely to trigger thoughts and feelings of some sort in you. If you notice them in the run up to Christmas pay them some attention and give yourself the time you may need. If Christmas is a difficult time for you it is possible there are things from the past you need to process and try to let go of.

If you’d like to talk in confidence about this or other issues, please contact me at chris.paul@creativedifference.org.uk  I offer a free half hour telephone assessment to see if working together could be beneficial for you. If you’d like to understand more about Counselling and Life Coaching please watch my videos at http://www.creativedifference.org.uk/what-is-counselling/ and http://www.creativedifference.org.uk/what-is-coaching/.


Chris Paul

Counsellor and Life Coach in Marlborough and Hungerford





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