Christmas is a very joyous time of year for many. It’s a time for reuniting with family and friends, having a lovely meal and drinks, sharing stories and piling on the pounds without a care in the world. However, for me I really dread Christmas shopping. I used to be so organised... When I worked at The Clothes Show a few years ago, we used to get paid cash in hand for our time with the addition of £100 bonus. Was pretty cushty looking back... I literally did my Christmas shopping the next day in one go. Granted it was a stress, but I had a routine and it worked!
A few years later, I found myself unemployed. With Christmas looming all I kept thinking was, “how am I ever going to budget getting Christmas presents with the income of job seekers?” Like this wasn’t already a stressful enough time, I was searching for jobs every day and EXTREMELY actively. The stigma that comes with being unemployed always riles me up, because I have been there – twice over. It’s not a pretty experience, but only YOU know in yourself how well you are doing with your job search – no other fucker and their small minded opinions can take that away from you. If you have ever been on job seekers, you will know that you are required to apply for at least 20 jobs a week – I was searching for at least 40 jobs a day. Of course, I couldn’t fit this in my job seekers diary which needed to be filled out and checked by an officer during sign on. So it shocked me that I actually got told off by an officer for filling my book in... too much. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m DYING to get a job and you can’t be arsed to do your own and check my book because you’re too lazy? The God damn irony of the situation actually filled me with anger. Nevertheless, although I was unemployed, this was probably the only year I was stress free. I budgeted everyone I was buying for and everyone LOVED their presents. I was delighted that even though I was in a bad place personally, I was able to put a smile on my family and friends faces; this was enough to make my Christmas.
Since then, Christmas has gradually gone downhill for me and for obvious reasons. Without one of the most important people in my life, it won’t be the same for me. My mother was the one who was my rock throughout unemployment and she had such a love and zest for Christmas; without this, I really can’t be bothered with it. The Christmas before she passed I told her I really didn’t like Christmas any more. She said “WHY?!” in her fiery passionate tone. I said “Because I associate it with you falling ill.” “Patricia.” She fired back, “you HAVE to love Christmas BECAUSE I love Christmas. Do you understand?” Believe me; I’m trying to work on this.
Since being employed and having the money to not even care about a budget for presents... sometimes this can be more stressful. Like I said in a previous blog, “Mo money, mo problems.” My sister told me when I was on the minimum wage working in retail, “Trish, the more money you have, the more problems it can cause. The more money you have, the more your spend. Sometimes it’s best not to have so much money because you appreciate the smaller things in life.” The point I’m trying to make is; money can’t buy happiness. So don’t be getting stressed over Christmas shopping- even if you haven’t finished it yet. I said it last year and I’ll say it again – Christmas is about spending time with the ones you love. It’s not about lavish presents and spending loads. It’s the thought that counts. My Dad is a very talented painter and has designed his own Christmas cards this year which to me, I find is way more thoughtful than just giving one from a pack. Here's just one of his designs:
I gave one to my friend and her family and she couldn't get over that my Dad had made it. All of his designs are so beautiful, others include a glittery Robin with a holly branch and a man pushing his daughter on a sledge which is so sweet! – I’m not at all biased!
Anyways, keep positive thoughts this time of the year guys. Although it can be difficult, please embrace the time you have with the people you love J.