Once we get past November the 5th and our firework displays, our mind soon focuses on Christmas. What to get the kids? What to get for your secret Santa? Who is visiting who for Christmas day or Boxing Day? How much food should we get in? Hmmm….Oh and do we have the money for all this?
Christmas is a very unique time of the year. For the majority of us it’s a time of great excitement and expectation. However, it’s also a time associated with high anxiety and dread. This year, with the current tough economic climate having a big impact on our wallets, many of us are experiencing worries about just how much Christmas will cost. Handling that Christmas budget can turn an occasion that should be of celebration into one of great stress.
Christmas is a time of great expectations. We are aware of gift and entertainment expectations from our kids, from our friends and family and this can be fuelled even more by peer pressure. We even place on ourselves great expectation, for example providing that perfect Christmas lunch (see our post on dealing with a stress free Christmas lunch – http://thehypnotherapyteam.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/10-tips-for-a-stress-free-christmas-lunch/)
We demand that perfect Christmas experience, and ensure this Christmas is just “how it should be!” Demanding of ourselves that everyone should be able to get what they want at Christmas, and also what we want them to have, places greater strain on our budget. That drive for the perfect Christmas often sees us making decisions with our hearts and not our minds, placing too much on our flexible friends, the credit card.
Don’t get caught up in the hype
At Christmas it’s very easy to get caught up in all the glitzy shop windows, the gifts, and the luxury food. Getting caught up in the hype can be dangerous. If we do end up placing too much on our credit cards, we find that the New Year is not such as happy one, as we start it with added debt to deal with.
Through all the hype it’s very easy to miss the actual point of Christmas. Rather than investing in gifts, shouldn’t we be investing in our relationships?
What to do
First off we must all recognise our own situation and that the economic situation is affecting most people. Accept this reality and reduce your Christmas expectations accordingly. Most families when presented with the actual facts, that times are tough, are highly supportive and understanding. It is when we try to deny the reality we are in that issues arise. By trying to hide stress and tension, families often start to fail to communicate and are denied the opportunity to be supportive and caring for each other, and isn’t that one of the deeper meanings we all search for at Christmas? If Children are told they cannot have this year’s latest computer games console but are also given a reason as to why, they are able to respond with understanding and love. Most children are not obsessed with “things” at Christmas, but the attention and time spent with their family away from the usual work routine is something they care about.
By accepting reality; reducing unrealistic expectations and demands; by not getting lost in all the Christmas hype, we are able to budget for Christmas accordingly. We can invest heavily in our relationships, and ensure this Christmas is a highly rewarding one, while at the same time, remove anxiety and the stress associated to money and debt issues that could otherwise start 2012.