Unrealistic Christmas expectations are causing families immense grief and stress.
Unrealistic Christmas expectations are causing families immense grief and stress. BrianAJackson

Why families crumble under Christmas expectations

FOR most families, Christmas is an opportunity to enjoy family time, swap gifts and enjoy a festive feast.

But sadly for some South Burnett families, this isn't the case.

CEO of South Burnett CTC Nina Temperton said for many families, Christmas was a time of sadness and heavy feelings of inadequacy.

"They absolutely need more assistance at Christmas," she said.

"We are being bombarded on social media and television and there is this completely ridiculous expectation of what Christmas is.

"We are told that our kids have to have all the latest presents and you have to have a huge feast.

"There is massive pressure.

"The people we deal with are already on an incredible tight rope as it is.

"And to make matters worse, once they get over the emotional Christmas period it all snowballs again with back to school pressures."

According to Mrs Temperton, it isn't just our media that paints an impractical image of what Christmas should be.

"It starts in our schools; 95 per cent of the students in the class are so well off," she said.

"It's hard for the other 5 per cent to try and keep up with the material goods the kids have."

Mrs Temperton said these unrealistic expectations could lead to family breakdowns.

"We are made to believe we have to have a lovely family lunch or dinner and not be dysfunctional," she said.

"So when everybody is cooped up together, there ends up being a fight or a domestic violence incident.

"Or kids rebel or run away."

These type of issues during the holiday period are intensified because the organisations that can assist are normally closed.

"The food runs out and all the money has been spent but there is no one who can help," Mrs Temperton said.

Former operations manager at the South Burnett Food Pantry and school chaplain for Taabinga and Cherbourg State Schools, Jordan Bennett agreed that Christmas could be a stressful time.

"Some families feel guilty at Christmas because they are not able to meet the standard that society says Christmas should be," he said.

 

Mrs Templeton said the number of South Burnett residents requiring assistance was drastically increasing.

"Five years ago there was a threshold where people could manage but you add drought and high unemployment to the mix and now there are no reserves," she said.

Mr Bennett agreed.

"When I first started at the Food Pantry we would provide around 80 hampers each week, now it is up to 110," he said.

Mrs Templeton invited anyone who was feeling the pressures of Christmas to reach out to them.

"We are open every day over the Christmas period except for the public holidays," she said.

The South Burnett Food Pantry is open on the Friday before and after Christmas.

If you are able to lend a hand this Christmas, there are many ways to get involved.

"Being open and non-judgemental and offering assistance is a great start," Ms Templeton said.

"It doesn't have to be a lot, donate a Christmas cake to one of the drives or take a package out to the Salvos.

"We can all do our bit to help."

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