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What’s It All About?

 

Friday 7th December 2012

If you’re a busy parent, rushed off your feet in preparing for Christmas and stressed out, perhaps it’s a good idea to take half an hour out to think over what it’s really about.  

Surely, Christmas should be a happy time when families and friends relax and enjoy each other’s company? It’s not a competition you only ‘win’ by getting the gourmet turkey, top-of-the-range treats and trimmings and the latest IT must-haves for the kids.

Neither is it about having artificial ‘outdoor fashion trees’ or going with the latest festive trends, although if you can afford them without maxing out the credit cards, by all means enjoy them. Rather, it is – or should be – much deeper than that. It’s about valuing your family and friends and spending time with them.

The fact is that family life has changed dramatically in recent years, with extra stresses and strains all round. Families are spending less time together, whether it’s at the dinner table or simply in front of the television.

There are many reasons for this, but one of them is that virtual human contact has replaced the real thing to a considerable extent.

The decline in family time coincides with a rise in Internet usage and the popularity of social networks. The 2011 Census revealed that 61 per cent of adults use social media sites, for instance. Members of the younger generation are proud ‘digital natives’.

Plenty of families find it quite difficult to get together for meals because one or both parents work shifts. Even worse, a lot of families here in the UK don’t even have a dining table.

In other homes financial worries are taking the shine off life. It’s difficult to be warm and bubbly around those you love, when a nagging fear about paying the bills is upsetting your stomach and you’ve not been sleeping too well.

So what can we all do to recover and nurture our sense of well-being and joy at Christmas and make sure we hang on to it for 2013? Perhaps it’s time to forget the fuss over decorations and make a fuss of each other as we spend time together in our families.

Getting your values right makes for a truly happy time.

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