Bolton School Girls’ Division Newspaper


The Unspoken Side of Christmas

Christmas is a time of year associated with fun and joy, for lots of people.  It is the time of year where all the adverts have one theme: how to have a happy Christmas. But what about those who don’t enjoy it as much, or even at all?

For example, Ebenezer Scrooge from the famous A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens hates Christmas for several reasons. One of which is how it reminds him of sad memories and how lonely and unhappy he is in his daily life. This, however, comes across as him just being a miserable and grumpy old man.

Scrooge is a rather extreme stereotype. However, he is a well known example that might make it easier for people to understand what Christmas can be like for some.

Some people may dread Christmas because of how expensive it gets, especially at the moment with the Cost of Living Crisis, energy prices and gas and heating bills rising. People find this time of year really difficult and society needs to understand that there is a reason to everything. Many parents feel stress and guilt when they simply can’t afford to buy what their child dreams of getting for Christmas. This can put a lot of pressure on families at this time of year, especially this year.

Abigail L 1

There are also lots of other reasons to why people can find Christmas difficult. Maybe they have lots of bills to pay, especially as it gets colder. Or can’t afford buy Christmas dinner.

The dramatic rise in the cost of gas and petrol prices increasing, might mean they feel they can’t afford the travel costs or gifts associated with visiting friends and family. Increasing poverty can lead to increase isolation as people may not be able to afford to go out for meals, trips or special events with friends.

People will be facing genuine dilemmas: eating or heating. Food or presents?

For these reasons alone, many more people may not be looking forward to Christmas this year, perhaps for the first time.

So why do so many people find Christmas the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’?  Well lots of people have time off school or work and can spend lots of time with family and relaxing. Or they (children especially) look forward to getting presents from Santa.

Yet, families spending more time together can be stressful in itself.  Arguing increases more than other times of the year.  This is due to everyone being forced together, with family members people don’t like or that they are not used to spending so much time with. There are reasons for arguments. 66% of arguments on Christmas day are about food preparations and 54% of arguments are about board games!! (See pie chart, right for more causes of arguments).

People with parents who aren’t together also have a challenge of who to spend Christmas day or Christmas Eve with, which creates a very difficult decision and might make some children reluctant to approach the subject of Christmas with parents as it can cause so much stress and arguments. They feel they can’t win.

Then there are all those people that face a sense of loss at Christmas. Maybe friends or family that have passed away, which brings back sad memories,  perhaps an empty seat around the Christmas table reminds them of their loss.

These are the aspects of Christmas that are spoken about little or not at all. It might be something that people find it hard to talk about, because it is hard to find the words to express their feelings. They also might feel that talking about death and loss to others is an appropriate, as Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, not about sadness. So you may not even realise that people are really struggling.  People might wonder why there are those who seem more like ‘Scrooge’ than Santa at this time of year. But there might be a really good reason.  

So, what can be done for those who dislike Christmas, and the stigma around it not being the “Most Wonderful Time of The Year”?

If you are struggling, or see someone struggling make sure you talk to someone. Recognising and accepting how you feel can be the first step in lightening the burden of dreading Christmas. Being ready to listen can make all the difference in  the world when someone is feeling sad and alone. 

The mental health charity, Samaritans, has tips on how to cope if you are finding things difficult around Christmas. Tips if you are finding things hard this Christmas. They also have a Contact Us page, where you can talk for free. 

For things like money problems, there are food banks all over the country. There are also charities that collect donations of toys and presents for children and distribute them to those who need it. The Citizens Advice Bureau is also a good a place to get advice about a range of problems, including paying bills, help with the cost of living etc.


I know that the Girl’s Division collects Christmas related gifts and distributes them annually through the charity Urban Outreach.  Supporting this charity is another way to help those finding it hard at Christmas.

This year, across the foundation, people are also being encouraged to bring in chocolate selection boxes for this year’s Hamper Challenge also for Urban Outreach. thank you to everyone who has supported this appeal. You have already made a difference to someone’s Christmas this year.

Don’t forget to be kind and as J.M. Barrie says, “Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.”

Happy Holidays!

By Abigail Leaper

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