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  • Writer's pictureSophie Barker-Hill

Bad Santa

Christmas time is renowned for festivities and the happiness and joy which surrounds it, lets be honest- the countdown starts at the end of October. It’s everywhere you go! Shop window displays, choccies on the supermarket shelves, Santa’s grottos popping up here, there and everywhere.

As well as the happy times and memory making events that comes with the Christmas spirit, it can also be a time of financial burden, loneliness, family tensions and disappointment.

For many of us out there we can experience so many different emotions and thoughts, it can leave us feeling isolated and put us in situations of extreme financial burden as we struggle to buy our loved ones that new bike they desperately want or the latest pair of trainers which cost the earth. Which in turn leads us to feeling guilty as we know we simply can’t afford it.

Some of us have to contend with a mass of social interactions either with people we really aren’t concerned for-this includes family and relatives who we would rather not see and spend time with.

So… how can I change this or at least make it more bearable??

Here goes..


Plan ahead- it’s never too early to start. Join a Christmas savings organisation or open a savings account and put X-amount away each month. You can even buy those pot money jars which you have to smash to get your money out of! This way you’re not faced with having to find a chunk of money in December.

Cut your list down! Agree to do a secret Santa with your family members.

If you are buying for friend’s children put a limit on it!

Don’t send Christmas cards. It can cost you a small fortune in stamps! Instead send a blanket text message or put a status on your social media account explaining that you’re donating money to charity this year and you’re also saving the environment in doing so.

Family Tensions

Just because you come from the same blood line does not mean you will get along. There maybe split families or unresolved conflicts. This in itself can manifest into anxiety.

Set realistic expectations, Christmas may not be the fabulous family reunion you were expecting. If you know who’s going to be at your function- plan ahead think about how you can calm your anxieties down if you begin to feel overwhelmed.

· Put the kids first.

I spent many years travelling to relatives houses and trying to please both sides of my family as well as my friends. I felt obliged as I didn’t want to let anyone down or upset anyone. I used to feel myself getting wound up and then felt annoyed with myself for not doing what we really wanted to do. I made the decision to put my children first. We would work around what they wanted to do. Christmas is about them as far as I’m concerned!


There are many ways to combat loneliness if you feel yourself in this position.

Make plans for Christmas day

1. Attend a local soup kitchen or shelter surround yourself with people who will really appreciate your time & company.

2. Buy yourself a present- go on treat yourself!

3. Attend your local church service

4. Find out about local activities that might be going on in your area.

5. Go for a Christmas Day stroll around your favourite park or local area.

6. Plan your TV schedule for the day. Binge watch films and eat your fave foods in your PJ’s.

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