How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?

“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
the near and the dear ones, the old and the young…”
– John Lennon, “Merry Christmas (War is Over)”

Ah, Christmas – an enchanting season of celebration and wonderment…and hectic shopping trips and online deliveries, endless food preparation and overeating, feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

Wait, let’s try that again.

Ah, Christmas – a magical time of enjoyment and togetherness….and non-stop visits and family tensions, squabbling and snarky comments, feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Does that sound familiar?  It certainly doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun.  And holidays – especially Christmas – are meant to be fun.

If you have the diet mentality, Christmas represents The Mother of Making the Most of It Opportunities.

So how come so many of us end up not having a great time?

Doing too much.  If you’re not good at delegating and even worse at speaking up and asking for help if you’re struggling, Christmas can feel like it’s entirely your responsibility.  You spend your days rushed off your feet trying to get everything done so everyone else is taken care of, ignoring your needs as you go.

As the pressure mounts and you feel increasingly frazzled it can take just one thing to push you over the edge.  That’s when you find yourself sobbing in the kitchen because you forgot the cranberry sauce or hurling the turkey carcass at Uncle Tony because he broke wind during the Queen’s Speech.

Eating too much.  Many people will overeat at Christmas and it’s not a big deal.  But if you’re a serial dieter or still have the diet mentality, Christmas represents The Mother of Making the Most of It Opportunities.  If you label food as “good” or “bad”, Christmas is the perfect “excuse” to eat all those “bad” things you think you’re not “allowed”.

The whole festive season becomes one big blow-out session, especially if there’s the threat of the usual January diet on the horizon.  Rather than enjoying the food on offer, you feel over-full and uncomfortable, while berating yourself for being “greedy” and threatening yourself with restriction when Christmas is over.

Difficult people.  Christmas is a time of giving and receiving.  Unfortunately, you can find yourself on the receiving end of insensitive remarks from your “nearest and dearest” about your weight, you eating behaviour and your life in general.  Shaming comments from others can stop fun in its tracks, as their negativity connects to your own inner critic.

Rather than looking forward to catching up with friends and family, you can dread Christmas get-togethers.  Instead of enjoying yourself, you feel tense and ill at ease as you brace yourself for the next insensitive remark.

Your time is best spent with those you feel good around – the ones who love, accept and appreciate you.

So what can be done?  How can you make sure you have fun at Christmas?  You might like to consider these suggestions:

Delegate.  Don’t be a martyr.  You don’t have to do everything by yourself.  Dish out tasks to others if you’re feeling swamped.  People often feel more comfortable if they can help in some way.  Speak up if you’re in danger of feeling overwhelmed.  Other people have needs but so do you and yours deserve attention.

Set your intention when you eat.  Repeatedly overeating isn’t fun – remind yourself that you can eat Christmas food any time you like.  It’s not off the menu and you’re not going to start dieting in January (why would you?).  Slow down, relax and enjoy what you’re eating and listen out for the signal from your body that you’ve had enough.

Limit your exposure to toxic people.  It’s your life and you get to decide who to spend it with.  We can often feel obligated to meet up with others but some people have a negative impact on us.  Your time is best spent with those you feel good around – the ones who love, accept and appreciate you, not the ones who criticise and demean you.

As you read this, some other ideas may be coming to you – if so, pay attention to them.

Fun doesn’t have to be earned.  It’s yours by right.  We’re all entitled to fun, including you.  If there’s a side of you that dismisses fun in favour of doing more (remember the Drill Sergeant?), then tell it where to go.

Having fun is an essential part of looking after your mental wellbeing – and a lovely gift to give yourself this year.

So, I hope you have fun this holiday season.  Proper fun, dammit – lots of it.

And I wish you all a very, very Merry Christmas.

29 thoughts on “How Can You Make Sure You Have Fun at Christmas?

  1. This is a great article! Another category of individuals that comes to mind are those who don’t have quite enough going on in their worlds at the holidays to replace the ‘busy-ness’ of the past and who may then rely on eating to fill that emptiness.

    I hope that you have a great holiday, as well!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That’s such a great point, Becky. It can be a really big adjustment if Christmas has traditionally been a busy time for people – as you say they can use food to attempt to fill the hole left by the lack of busyness and, perhaps, people around them. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, many thanks for your comment..

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Julie, thank you for a very timely post. It’s full of insight and practical advice. I think your point about ‘allowing’ ourselves to eat ‘bad’ food is very well made – I wonder why we think food we know is ‘bad’ for us is actually a treat? I know a bowl of steamed broccoli would be a major treat for my body, it’s just my mind doesn’t seem to agree! I will bear your wise words in mind over the festive season, Lxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think labelling foods as “good” or “bad” is the issue. As human beings if something’s restricted or off-limits, we’re naturally drawn to it because it’s “forbidden” and, therefore, somehow special. If we see food as just food, it becomes a question of whether we really feel like eating it or not, how it would feel in our bodies and whether it would satisfy us. In that way, chocolate is the same as broccoli. So nice to hear from you, Lol, I hope you have a fantastic Christmas.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so spot on, and great tips! I have a similar post waiting to go up this week but I may have to change it a little because great minds think alike and I also have a bit for ‘delegate’! It’s a shame Christmas can become all stress, worry, pressure and frustration and a lot of us then don’t get to slow down to enjoy it. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re obviously on the same page, Caz! Christmas is so much more enjoyable when we can find it in ourselves to slow down and savour the moment. Looking forward to reading your forthcoming post, have a great Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Forgot to say before, but you’re really onto something with the fun aspect and how “Fun doesn’t have to be earned. It’s yours by right”. Too many of us (including myself) seem to have problems with this, or feeling guilty for having a good time, or feeling they ‘should’ be doing other things instead. It’s so sad how we come to this way of thinking and behaving, generally without ever realising it. I’m noticing it more and more with myself. I’m sure others will read your post and nod along to what you’ve said, too.xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, we can often have a very demanding side of our personalities that puts pressure on us to constantly achieve and do stuff. As you say, we can often be unaware of this side that constantly makes us strive. This side of us doesn’t value resting or relaxing or having fun, but those things are essential to our wellbeing. I think it’s a good idea to label that demanding side so it’s easy to spot when it comes up. That way, you can dismiss it and assure yourself that life is about balance – we need to balance work with rest, and fulfilling our daily obligations with having fun (my previous post “What’s the First Thing You Say to Yourself in the Morning?” is all about this). Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Caz. Now that you notice this side of yourself more I hope it means you’re managing to have more fun – you deserve it as we all do.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your insights here, Julie. On toxic people: that can be tricky if some of them are in your family… it takes a lot of meditation and centering for me before and after events, and I do limit my exposure. Boy, it can test my patience though. I try to see them in the light of their own suffering. Their bitterness toward others might reflect their feelings about themselves. It’s a good time of the year for compassion practice and extra kindness when we can manage it. Thank you! Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such great advice here, Cristy – I love “compassion practice and extra kindness”. I think you also make an important point that negative comments aren’t personal – often people need to see others as in some way defective so that they don’t have to look inward at their own issues, because that would just be too painful for them. Thank you for all your engagement with my blog this year, your comments are always insightful and thought-provoking. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, well said… 🙂 you and your family have a safe and wonderful holiday and a Merry Christmas with all your presents filled with love and happiness!!… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Those are excellent suggestions for enjoying the holiday season. With a little thought and planning, we can avoid the excess and the situations (and people) who bring us down. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.