• Samantha Lehmann

It gets real at Christmas

My childhood Christmas days were full of yummy food and fun times with my cousins, my brothers , my mum and dad and grandparents - family! I used to stare at our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve , with its flashing lights, bright coloured baubles and some of our school made decorations that mum always kept and brought out each year and feel so incredibly excited about the next day, yes I wont lie the presents were appealing to me but more importantly it was the frivolities we had as kids on this special family day.

As we grew older and our grandparents

had died with our cousins starting to have their our own families as did we our Christmases' became just about our immediate family, - mum, dad, Warwick and Alistair and our partners and these times were different but still really great we had lots of laughs and delicious feasts of course, it would be sometimes at mum and dads house , at our place or we would go out for lunch, then came along our fist child Chloe and Warwick and Nicole's first child Declan, children were now there at Christmas and this is when Santa came alive again and the magic of Christmas came back. Warwick loved Christmas just like me but he only got to spend one Christmas with his Son and then he died three months later.

I have never looked forward to Christmas ever since that last one we had with Warwick back in 2004. I'm not bitter or angry I just don't have the same passion and excitement for Christmas day anymore and now with dad gone its even harder. I still enjoy the day with my beautiful family, we still have laughs and loving moments but its lost the spark it once had and that's just the way it is and how I feel now. Christmas can be hard for a lot of people, they may not have strong and happy family connections, it may be their first without a loved one, they may be going through a break up or they may be unwell. The day can bring pressure for families to get together that may be dysfunctional, Its a day that many people who have had trauma in their families or childhood can suffer from anxiety or depression leading up to this holiday time.

When buying your gifts this year think of your friends, work mates, neighbours or family members who have suffered this year or going through something tough right now and let them know you are thinking of them. This Christmas day can be made that little bit easier knowing that they are supported and cared for by you. We get so involved in our own stuff and our own family at this time that maybe considering supporting and gifting someone you wouldn't usually could bring the real meaning of Christmas into your heart and theirs.

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