If you have been married or in a long term relationship it’s almost inevitable you’ve decorated your home for Christmas together.

Whether you shopped at the Christmas Markets, Selfridges, the local garden centre or you carefully handcrafted home-made decorations, each will generate a memory of the Christmas season.  That’s beautiful for memories of happy times, but not so good if a relationship ends badly.

When you unpack your Christmas decorations this year, take a good look at them and assess the emotions they trigger.  Some will be comforting, others will make you smile.  Some will have no  reaction whatsoever.  However, the decorations which immediately remind you of arguments, a terrible Christmas, a particular person who made you miserable or a time when you were struggling… these are the decorations you might seriously consider parting with once and for all.

I love to buy six new Christmas decorations each year.  It’s become something of a tradition, rather like the mulled wine and cookies which accompany decorating the tree.  One year I chose some particularly gorgeous Christmas baubles in an elegant tartan design. They were perfect for our new house and the last of the range in the store.  I was thrilled with them.  When I got home I carefully put the bag containing those tissue wrapped glass ornaments on the sofa while I unpacked the shopping.  Alas, my partner didn’t notice and sat on them leaving a pile of sparkling shards of glass, a red face and not much else.  To give him credit, he rang other stores in the same chain and came home with substitute decorations which we hung on the tree together.

Two years later the partner was long gone.  When December arrived it was time to decorate the tree, and out came those tartan baubles.  The memories flooded back, the expression on his face when he realized the destructive power of his buttocks, his triumphant efforts to find and replace the decorations and then the pain of our parting.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the relationship ending was absolutely the best thing which could ever have happened, but those tartan balls had the power to plunge me right back into raw emotion and triggered wave of sadness for the ghosts of Christmas past.

It was an easy decision to take those and other negativity inducing decorations to the nearest Charity shop to bring beauty and festive joy to a new family.  I could be safe in the knowledge that those annual tartan time-bombs would soon be forgotten.

If you have decorations, or indeed anything in your home which recall people, situations or periods of time which made you unhappy, then perhaps this is the year to release them and make space for new, more joyful Christmas to come to you.