We put up our Christmas tree yesterday, and I remembered that this is the time of year that women often disappear. Disappear into planning, organising, making and arranging festivities. Women are negotiating dates, tensions and the ever present ticking-down of time until Christmas. Online groups that are usually busy are suddenly quiet. Women who you usually see out walking, aren't out anymore. Lunchrooms, usually full, have chairs to spare as women eat at their desks and run around gift shopping and ingredient sourcing during their 'break.'
I am here to give you permission to rest.
Put down the list, and rest.
Even your phone needs to regularly recharge.
The end of the calendar year does not need to be a marathon, where women collapse at the finish line. Celebrations that depend on women having less sleep so they can happen, are not OK. If other people won't give up their leisure or reprioritise their time, why should you?
It's OK to rest.
Now, I can sense some of you saying 'but...but if I don't do it, no-one will!'
Yes. That might be true. And, it's OK.
It's OK if you don't want to host this year.
It's OK if the pastry isn't made from scratch.
It's OK if someone decides not to come because someone they don't like will be there. It's OK if two people who don't like each other, bump into each other.
It's OK if the floor isn't clean.
It's OK is someone doesn't like their present. It's OK if the wrapping paper doesn't match. It's OK to NOT buy presents.
It's OK if Christmas is just a bit shit. You are not responsible for other people having a good time. Tell people what you won't be doing this year. If others step up to create the parts of Christmas that they care about, that's wonderful.
But a celebration that relies on you undertaking an unequal, unfair amount of labour in order to make it happen is not a celebration; it's an exploitation.
You can stop doing everything. If someone really values ironed napkins or matching gift tags, they can do it themselves, next year.
Rest. Go to bed early. Stop erasing your needs and wants with obligations.
When you're not used to receiving it, rest is a revelation; and at this time of year, for women, it is an act of resistance and revolution.