If you are the person who is responsible for ensuring your family has a wonderful Christmas – or any Christmas at all – the run up to the festivities can be enormously stressful. Fear not though – I have some top tips for binning the festive overwhelm and even potentially enjoying the whole thing!

This is Part 3 – you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. I’ve got your back this Christmas.

The final piece of the puzzle is ditching the Hollywood ideal of Christmas, which I feel is pretty well exemplified by the image above.

We often use the phrase or hear the phrase “the perfect Christmas”. The pressure! What is the “perfect” Christmas? That idea is totally a Hollywood construct. I can’t imagine that 100 years ago people did or had half the things that we do at Christmas, but we have had it constructed for us in films. If you think about some of the Christmas movies you have watched, you know the elements that come in. It seeps into our consciousness and we start to think that we need to have the “perfect” Christmas.

If we were really going to create a Hollywood Christmas, if we really thought that’s what we need to do, what would we need? We’d need a set designer to start with, because none of us lives in a Hollywood house. We would need costume designers, because none of us wears Hollywood clothes. We would need the whole day to be scripted, not this fly by the seat of your pants, say whatever comes into your head real life that we do. Of course, we would also need the opportunity for a re-take. Or several.

Does any of that sound realistic or desirable? Or necessary?

Don’t play the game. From now until Christmas I want you to play a different game. I want you to try to spot when you are having the “perfect” Christmas marketed to you, in adverts, in magazines, in shop displays, in everything festive that you come across. See it and remember that you do not need to buy into it. It is a way of making money for a lot of people, and you do not need to buy into it.

You are going to have a great Christmas, and it is going to be a Christmas that belongs to you, not Hollywood. Your Christmas is yours, and if you have read Part 1 of this blog series you have now set your Christmas priorities. We can worry about what everybody else is doing and whether it is “better” than what we are doing, but if we have our priorities set we don’t need to worry about other people. If you tick those boxes that are important to you and your family then great – you have had a good, fantastic, successful Christmas. That’s all you need to know, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing because other families will have different priorities.

Make sure you spot the Hollywood Christmas wherever you see it lurking, and don’t buy into it. Perfect is not attainable, it is not desirable, it is not required and it is a complete construct of marketing. What we are aiming for is good, great, fun, fantastic, whatever the words are you like, but most importantly we are aiming for Christmas your way.

Which bits of the Hollywood Christmas construct do you find particularly saccharine or unnecessary? Please let me know in the comments below.

Helen Calvert
December 2021