Thursday, 17 November 2011

December stress

December stress – for some people it’s so bad, they seek help. Of course, if holidays give you so much stress that you need help, you’d better get help. I honestly think half a country needs help.

Although, I can see where the stress is coming from. First there’s all this Sinterklaas happening. I have no clue how the parents cope. They certainly don’t look healthy the couple of weeks prior to 5th of December. But at least it’s clear where and with whom you will celebrate that. If you have kids, the childless relatives will gather at your place. If you don’t have kids, you go to somebody who does. Or you don’t go anywhere.

Then you get Christmas. Christians (still a majority in the Netherlands) go crazy. Each year you’ll have to decide where you’ll be spending the two days of Christmas. And no matter what your options are you never win. There aren’t many options really. You can stay at home and pretend to ignore the whole happening. Except you can’t. You cannot go anywhere because it’s either fully booked and has a special Christmas programme or is unreachable. You will see Christmas out of your window, on your TV and in your mailbox. And don’t forget to buy enough food – the shops will be closed!

You can host a Christmass dinner at your place. You will spend three weeks planning the menu and buying decorations, one week decorating and buying food, two days actually cooking and one evening serving your friends and family all the stuff you cooked.

You can skip that and go for a dinner at someone else’s place, most probably family. You will spend at least a month negotiating whether you spend the first day with your parents and the second with the parents of your partner or another way around. After that is settled, you’ll try to squeeze in a Christmas brunch hosted by your sister-in-law and visit two or three still living grandparents. You will spend two days dressed in uncomfortable black glittery clothes eating food among hideous decorations and discussing family matters.

If you got through December without serious traumas, food poisonings and family conflicts or arguments with your partner – congratulations! I’ll gladly share a bottle of Champaign with you at the New Year’s eve. But to be sincere – being single and having no family in the near vicinity does have some advantages.

Happy December stress everybody!

Signe Tollefsen - Where You Been

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