So it happened! Christmas is officially here, and it is a strange period in which people tend to suddenly travel back in time and with the excuse of "tradition" and allow things to happen that they would never allow otherwise.
It is a bit of a trap, but we have some tips to add feminism to the festivities!
I have updated this post because 2020 Christmas is not going to be the same, so I will keep the gathering related ones at the end, in case it applies to some people but try to keep it COVID19 restriction's friendly.
1. Share the responsibilities. As during the rest of the year.
It is a fact that women tend to double up the work during Christmas, especially the mental load: are all the presents bought? Where are we going to have dinner? are both sides of the family receiving enough attention? Is the food bought? all of it? do we have to think about alternatives for kids or allergies? Is there wrapping paper? and list goes on and on.
So make sure, when dividing the tasks and responsibilities, that everything is under consideration. The time spent thinking, sourcing and shopping for presents, the decoration, the organising, sending the cards if you do so... if we're honest, putting up the tree, cooking half of the dinner and being in charge of dishes probably isn't the half of it.
2. Add a feminist tweak to the Christmas carols
Like a lot of songs, Christmas carols can also be a bit cringeworthy when you analyse them with your purple feminist glasses, so below you'll find some new feminist versions in case you want to "feminist" things up a bit
3. Catch up with your pending feminist books, feminist series and feminist films
(if you have anything left to watch after the lockdowns)
Holiday, that time of the year when you might be able to get some "free" time. It's easy to fall into the trap of overspending, over eating, over drinking and trying to see everyone (even people you don't overly like), so why not try to use some of that 'me' time to watch films, read books and catch up with series that are on your feminist list? We have lots of recommendations in our "Fuel your Feminism" section
4. Don't let another white old man take all the credit for your work
This is controversial, we know, but this year don't let the good old Santa take all the credit. Everybody has worked hard to get those presents under the tree, and he just has to show up in every mall and party and get kids on his lap (At least this year probably kids are not going to be forced to sit on Santa's lap if they don't want to, not even for the picture, which, lets be honest it's a bit creepy).
This year make the big presents come from real people, so the kids less lucky don't have to compare themselves and feel that Santa doesn't love them as much or they haven't been good enough.
Also, don't feel bad if you want to take the full credit and don't let Santa enter your premises at all, there are already enough white heterosexual old men being the centre of praises and underserved attention, so we're sure it will be fine.
5. Stop fat blaming and justifying what you're eating
Don't be the person that judges somebody else for eating, for having gained weight, for wearing this or that with that size. Try not to bring up that a diet is needed as soon as the holidays are over, and be aware who is listening to you when you feel the urge to talk about the amount of calories you've had or how you won't fit into your new clothes.
You don't know who is struggling with their body and how painful those comments can be. Eat a lot (or don't) but try not to bring diet culture and body shaming to the table (or social media if you are not having a big dinner) , and see if you can change topic when somebody else inevitably does. Let's keep things safe for everyone!
6. Be careful with the gender specific presents. Actually, avoid them
Let's really try to avoid the boys/girls/lads/gals overly gendered gifts. For everybody, but mostly for kids, when they are still shaping their idea of the world.
We're not saying that you need to buy a truck to your niece Susie who is dying for a princess, but see if there is anything else that can mix things up a bit (maybe a book of self-rescued princesses?).
Think about the message that you are sending and not only the object you are buying, that goes for adults as well.
7. Give, support, include!
It is the season of giving. Sometimes we don't realise because we are so focused in the excesses and the stress of living up to expectations: but it should be the moment to sit down and feel grateful for what we have, to give and support those less lucky than us and to make sure we are using our impact to bring real inclusion. Our biggest power is our capacity to impact others and make the world a better place. It doesn't have to be huge, it just need to be consistent.
This extra 3 are not going to apply this year as much, but it is never bad reminder, and it works for zoom family celebrations!
8. Have your feminist data handy for the misogynist conversations that are due in most Christmas gatherings.
(that applies to antiracism and all the important causes! don't be a bystander!)
It will happen, they (who are they? well, we know...them!) will question feminism, will question your opinions, will accuse you of overreacting, if you are a woman they might accuse you of hating men, if you are a man they will call you a pussy...
Have your info ready, have your statistics handy. We have this pdf phone friendly in case you can't remember it and will post it on social on Christmas eve so it is very accessible. All the below stats come from extremely trusted sources and it is difficult to deny the sadness of the reality they portray.
If it doesn't work... breath and keep your energy for somebody that is worthy of it. But don't forget to send them to www.thefeministshop.com where they can get lots of content and recommendations, we are always up for a challenge!
9. When speaking with women, celebrate their successes and ask them about things other than partners, marital status and kids (or their desire to have any of those)
I am sure if you haven't seen your cousin for months there are more important things to ask her than "do you have a boyfriend?" "so, is he putting a ring on it?" or " are you thinking about kids?" "do you want another?".
It seems that women are only asked about their love life and their motherhood situation, and specifically about what they don't have yet from the list. It is always the next stage that people want to celebrate and know more about. No pressure.
What about asking about their career, their last or next trip organised, any new hobby they are exploring...basically interesting stuff!
10. Make a safe environment for everyone
We are sharing some of the good tips that Creativebrief had in their blog about how not to be a bystander when witnessing sexual harassment (you can find the complete article here). After all, at Christmas parties and gatherings, sexual harassment is not uncommon:
- Speak up. As an observer of this type of behaviour, it can be much easier to just pretend it’s not happening and ignore it.
- Sexual harassment can be dressed up in humour or dismissed as a joke or banter, making it easy to miss or not take seriously. Recognise this behaviour for what it is and take action.
- Tell the person you don’t find their behaviour funny or appropriate, or point out the offence. Give them an insight into their behaviour; they may simply need a new perspective on what is and isn’t socially acceptable and you may be doing them a favour so they don’t behave in this way again.
That is us! We hope you can identify with at least some of the above and it provides a little feminist boost before the fun begins. Good luck with the festivities and we can't wait to hear how feminism fitted into your Christmas plans :p