real life

Why no one is actually celebrating Christmas on December 25th anymore.

We’re calling it. No one is celebrating Christmas Day on December 25th anymore.

Rather than Christmas Day, families now have Christmas Month. Or in some cases, even MONTHS.

For most, December 25th means one thing and one thing only. Stress.

Driving from function to function, visiting every living relative from your great aunt to your second cousin’s sister in a 12-hour period. And eating three variations of Christmas ham with only half a glass of champagne to wash it down because, the driving.

The result? A day you spend weeks, hundreds of dollars and hours of time preparing for, but can’t actually enjoy. No one can be in one place for more than an hour or so, and by the time 3pm rolls around, you’d rather just pack it in and sit on the couch.

Many families are now getting a head start on Christmas by celebrating before the day itself, because we’re all just too bloody busy to fit it into one day anymore.

Depending on how intense gung-ho your family is, Christmas Day might start in November. Yep.

When you realise you can do literally nothing on Christmas Day. Image: Giphy.

"We start Christmas celebrations in NOVEMBER with my husbands side of the family because they have about five different functions with mainly the same people," says the particularly busy Sarah*.

"We have the annual Tennis Competition Day (what on earth did I marry into) which takes place in EARLY NOVEMBER, then a BBQ, then something at at least one of his uncle or aunties houses.

"And we get in trouble on Christmas day because we can't make a day thing with them because we are split between my family."

Josie's* ginormous family celebrates Christmas Day in two batches - with her mum's side in late November, and on the day itself with her Dad's.

"It means we don't have to spend the day driving all over Sydney. We get to go to one place and just stay there," she says.

And for Gemma, Christmas Day will most likely be spent relaxing on her own at the beach. Not because her family don't want to hang out with her, but because it's turned out everyone is busy on December 25th.

"On Christmas Day, you'll most likely find me drinking a beer on the beach near my house with a book and leftovers." Image: Supplied.
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"For our family, celebrating Christmas is just like organising any other family event - it completely depends on what everyone is doing and where they are going to be at the time. The date itself is really not important," she says.

"This year, I will be having three Christmases and none of them will be on Christmas Day."

One of them, she has already had.

"It was in a hotel room in Melbourne on the first weekend of December. My sister lives in the Northern Territory, and it was the only time we could manage being in the same state, let alone the same room. Instead of sitting around a tree, we did presents on a shitty white kitchen table. Instead of Christmas roast, we ate Indian takeaway with plastic forks.

"Another Christmas will be on the 23rd of December with friends. And the extended family Christmas is on Boxing Day, because we switch it up with my cousin's in laws every year. On Christmas Day, you'll most likely find me drinking a beer on the beach near my house with a book and leftovers."

LISTEN: Struggle with small talk at your non-December 25th Christmas gatherings? Mamamia Out Loud is here to help (post continues after audio...)

Sounds relaxing, right? Especially considering Christmas Day is ranked as one of the six most stressful life events, along with divorce, moving house and changing jobs, according to a 2016 Relationships Australia report.

The same report suggests around one-third of people think their family relationships are highly negatively affected at Christmas due to work-life balance and financial worries, while one-fifth blame differentiating expectations, beliefs or values around Christmas as the main cause of stress.

In news that'll surprise precisely no one, 35 per cent of people reckon spending time with the in-laws and their own extended family negatively impacts their lives. Then there's blended families, one-quarter of whom experience stress from issues relating to children from previous relationships.

All that stress kind of defeats the whole purpose of Christmas, doesn't it? Spending and enjoying time with your loved ones.

So as we all become busier and busier, is boycotting Christmas Day in favour of smaller Christmas 'days' the way to go if you actually want to have fun and not bite each others' heads off?

It might be too late. But there's always next year. If you survive.

*Name has been changed

When do you celebrate Christmas? Tell us in the comment section below!

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