By Graziella Scerri
Christmas is all jolly and merry, but not for everyone. There might be some individuals who feel more sad, lonely, stressed and heartbroken during this period of time while having nobody to spend their Christmas time with.
Considering we are still in the middle of a pandemic does not make life easier either.
LGBTIQ+ community members, particularly older individuals are more likely to be isolated, especially during these cold, dark, winter nights.
Christmas and its associations might be a negative time of the year for many. If reading this reminds you of someone who might be sensitive in feeling neglected or abandoned, contact them for a little chat or plan a short visit if you are available. Such small gestures encourage individuals in reassuring themselves that they are not forgotten.
If you are a community member and you decide to spend time with unsupportive relatives, be yourself. Do not be afraid of ‘spoiling’ Christmas because you cannot be open about who you are. Prioritize your own needs and if you feel that this festive period provides you with a safe opportunity to let out what you’ve been keeping for yourself for quite a long time, just do it.
When giving out gifts, opt for shared memories or hand-made ones. The idea will add a personal touch and it will remind people around you that whoever you are, you still care about their needs. This will also serve as a recall for your relatives to remind them that even if you form part of the LGBTIQ+ community, you are still a brother/sister, a son/daughter, a cousin, a nephew/niece, an uncle/auntie, a parent.
It can be quite distressing when you are cautious to spend time with your family, especially when relationships may be uneasy due to not being comfortably out, or out but not accepted. It may not be ideal to spend Christmas with some friends or in similar circumstances but it might be far better than spending Christmas alone or in discouraging company. Although it is fundamental to spend Christmas with our families, those sharing our experiences are considered as family too.
At the end of the day, if you still prefer to spend this time alone, plan what you want to do during this day/s. Having a structure might decrease your anxiety. If you want to prepare a nice meal go for it, if you want to buy a nice present for yourself, do it you earn it, if you want to spend some time near the sea or in the countryside, just drive there.
If you literally hate Christmas and want to spend a lazy day on the sofa watching Netflix and sipping warm wine or a huge mug of tea without having to deal with Mariah Carey’s depressive Christmas songs and have a silent night, then just do that. This day is all about YOU!