[LIFE ★]


Unhappy Christmas

(P1) Throughout the year there are various occasions that encourage us to respond in particular ways, perhaps to feel excited, positive, or eager to celebrate with others. The most stressful of them all is Christmas.

(P2) For many, this time of year can be difficult.  Instead of a time of fun and celebration, it’s viewed as a ROUTINE to be ENDURED; a time of year DOMINATED by the stress of finding answers to questions such as when to shop, when to send cards, whose family to visit, what time to eat, and so on.

(P3) According to one study, 45 per cent of men feel sad or depressed at Christmas time. 30 per cent cited financial or relationship tensions as the ROOT CAUSE of their low moods.

(P4) One man described the period between mid-December and early January as being “SURROUNDED by people who appear to love me but don’t really know me all that well”.

(P5) As a result, some men feel a strong desire to simply return back to work, where life is HUMDRUM but EXPECTATIONS are not so high.

(P6) It doesn’t need to be this way. It is important to remember that Christmas is merely a season that begins and ends, so be patient about it.

(P7) Many men don’t feel in control of their lives at this time of year, so try to take back some control. Your actions don’t have to be extreme, they just have to be your choice. You could say “No” to a particular invitation. The world won’t end.

(P8) Many of our decisions and moods during this period are controlled by what we think we should be doing, feeling or saying because of the expectations of others.

(P9) If something you’re doing or scheduled to do really doesn’t please you, question it and either a) come up with an alternative plan, or b) SET BOUNDARIES around it that you’re happy with.

WORDS: 317



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you enjoy holidays, or do you find them stressful?
  3. For many, the Christmas season and other holiday times are full of family OBLIGATIONS. Are your own family obligations very heavy, or are they at a REASONABLE level?
  4. Who do you think gets the most enjoyment out of holidays: men, women, or children?
  5. Do you travel to make visits at the holidays, or do others travel to visit you?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Root cause
  • Set boundaries

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