Being far away from family at Christmas

Christmas can be a great time of year, likewise, it can be difficult for some. For us, it is a mixed bag.

We always have a lovely time at my in-laws with Gray and this year will be Rhyds first Christmas! The day is always filled with love, laughs, good food, and presents.

However, my side of the family live in Wales, approximately five hours away.

Working in retail with family who work in similarly un-seasonally conventional jobs, means booking Christmas off is not really a possibility. Because of this, we must make our Christmas visit usually either before December or after the following January, outside of peek retail times.

We still have a lovely time, with a gift exchange and at least one extra Christmas dinner. Most would probably say we’re lucky, we get two Christmases! And besides, it’s only a day, right? What makes Christmas is the atmosphere and the activities! Not the date!


Is it?

There is a part of our brains that comes to rely on our routines.

For example; people who work Monday-Friday see Friday afternoon/evening as their break to freedom! It is the start of their weekend where they can relax and rest before another week.

I think Christmas and other ‘hyped up’ days can also have this effect. It’s just a normal day, no different from any other. But it has been designated as, in many ways, the most important day of the year by society.

Christmas is supposed to be a family day with good food, presents and cheesy movies on TV. You can celebrate on any other day of course, ‘but why would you?’ Society seems to say.

christmas - market - mall - shopping

Christmas day is the one day of the year most shopping centers are closed, the TV guide is non-stop family films and glittery specials and the day before all Hell lets lose in the sales.

It’s not that you can’t personally decide another day is important, just that if you do, the world will not stop trying to remind you otherwise. I remember one year we went for our Christmas visit and everywhere I went the shops were full of pancake mix and Easter eggs! It wasn’t even February! I couldn’t feel a Christmassy vibe no matter how hard I tried.

Working in retail you see this a lot; the second one major holiday has passed the next is being hyped again.

I know it’s just a day. I know that adverts and shop displays don’t dictate what days are really important to me or how and when to spend time with my family. Yet somehow, my brain is convinced we won’t be celebrating Christmas with my family until we spend the actual day with them.

family - christmas - presents

Unfortunately for us, this could be a very long time coming. Another couple of years, at least. So for now, we’re going to keep having our early/belated Christmas visits and enjoying our time as and when we can.

The most important thing about Christmas is family. That means no matter what the shops are selling, Christmas is exactly when WE say it is.
So there.

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