COMMENT: Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year?

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year, or is it a time where one falls into peer pressure and debilitating mental health? 

According to statistics on YouGov, 35 per cent of men and 51 per cent of women have said they had felt pressure and stress over Christmas.

The build up to Christmas can be a very demanding period for a lot of us. It is a shame that the religious meaning behind Christmas has slipped from most of our minds as we try and keep up to date with the latest trends, the latest gadgets and please family members, even the ones we don’t particularly like. We have, over the years, fallen further and further into a consumer rabbit hole. 

Company’s itching to brainwash consumers with the ‘must have’ Christmas gifts do not even wait for Halloween to finish before bombarding our screens. Gone are the days of an orange in the stocking or chocolate calendars. Now, you can buy calendars with perfume, gin, and cheese, and does anyone notice how they are getting bigger and bigger? 

Black Friday can be a consumer scam. People are landing in debt to achieve an expectation that is unrealistic. Part of the Christmas stress is a fear of missing out and the Black Friday sales can be a driving force to motivate people to buy items due to this fear. Black Friday sales are no longer ‘sales’ as such, but merely the same prices on products that they would have been any other time of year or just slightly cheaper.

Of course, businesses need to make money and Christmas is a vital time for that, yet it is ironic that advertisements are using the perfect Christmas family story to market their products when there are many people who don’t feel this sense of joy. 

Whilst Christmas is a catalyst for consumer stress, we must also remember people whose mental health take a toll this season. With the strain of juggling work and Christmas preparation it can be very easy to put yourself last due to an obligation to please others. 

Not only that, Christmas lies on one of the coldest times of the year, where the days are shorter and the night arrives sooner. It is easy to forget about the people who struggle with these changes, thus it is vital that we always look out for one another, especially as we have all struggled together through the pandemic. 

The uncertainty of what will happen with the rise of the Omicron variant is another added concern that many have and one that will raise anxiety for many more. 

Mentalhealth.org.uk gives great tips on how to look after your mental health this festive season. 

After this pandemic we should focus on what really matters this Christmas and for many Christmases to come. 

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