The Vine – No. 10 – November 2019

Issue #10
November 2019
Curated by John McCallum-Cherry

Welcome to The Vine.
A monthly editorial bringing fresh cultural content from Bloom.

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year…’
Andy Williams, 1963

Those sleigh bells are almost jingling and everyone’s so happy because Christmas is-a-coming. The John Lewis Christmas advert is upon us, shops are filled to the brim with trees, decorations, chocolates, and bopping Santa’s. There are probably three reactions you’ve just had. 1) shut up, it’s not Christmas yet. 2) heck yeah, I already have my tree up. 3.) I don’t like Christmas. The first two reactions are part and parcel, and I say, live your life, good people.

The third reaction is where things get tricky. Not everyone likes Christmas and for different reasons. You could argue its pagan roots were forgotten in celebration of Christianity and/or celebration of capitalism and/or the tradition of Christmas trees and/or gift-giving only took off in the 19th Century with the marriage of Queen Vic to Prince Albert. However, the problem with Christmas can be internal; bereavement, social/family pressure, debt, overeating, oversleeping, loneliness, isolation, alcohol consumption, lack of routine. This month we’re going to look at some ways in which yourself and/or someone you care about can look after themselves in what can equally be the most lovely/stressful time of the year.

First and foremost, if you are worried about yourself or someone close to you this Christmas period, remember these 6 digits: 116 123 and this email: jo@samaritans.org. The Samaritans are locally staffed with volunteers who are available 24/7, confidential, and there to listen to you. Don’t let this Christmas be the last one.

Secondly, boundaries. Christmas can be a time where we spend hours inside one house with family members we might not have seen for a while. Perhaps for you, it means more time with friends, more time in the pub, more time alone. Be clear with yourself. What can you handle in terms of socialising? It’s one thousand percent fine not to go to every or any event you’re invited to. It’s also fine to go for a walk if things are getting tense with family members. It’s fine to go to every event over the festive period. You know what works for you.

Thirdly, what I like to call no man’s land (aka, 26th-30th December). Christmas Day is finished, there’s no more presents/turkey’s/Christmas vegan tofu and if you’re a student or lucky enough to have two weeks off at Christmas. These days are generally aimless. Three things will most likely happen, over-eating/drinking/sleeping. Now, I am not advocating a boring Christmas. What I am advocating, however, is to try and counterbalance. If you overeat, try and get a little bit of exercise in (walking counts!), overdrink then try and balance that out with some early mornings and fresh headedness. Oversleeping? Try and stick to a semblance of a sleeping schedule.

The days are getting shorter, the nights’ longer and this time of year is super busy. Look after yourselves and an eye for those around you. Now, please excuse me while I go find my Christmas jumper.

The Vine – No. 10 – November 2019

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