During the Holiday season, it is very easy to get swept away in all of the commercialism. When this happens, all too often, it is easy to find yourself looking around the day after Christmas wondering where the holiday went. It seems to get lost somewhere between the shopping mall and the bank, and all you have to show for it are aching muscles and credit card receipts.
This year try something different, give what you can afford and resist the temptation to buy things on credit, for that is only going to cause unwanted stress when the bills come rolling in.
Top 13 tips for Beating the Stress of the Holidays
1. Establish realistic expectations. Know your limits personally and financially and vow to stick to them rather than over-extend and create more stress.
2. Lower financial limits with family and friends-they will be happy you did!
3. Make a list and stick to it…no impulse buys
4. Plan an exchange where everyone gives away treasures that they no longer want or need. The most unique gift wins. This can be the most fun you have had on Christmas in a long time!
5. Give gifts that cost no money. The best things in life are free. Give the gift of your time or talent. Maybe you are a good organizer, help a friend organize their closets. Perhaps you are an artist, paint a picture, write a poem, or offer your time to photograph a family member’s children. These gifts are so much more valuable than a store-bought item.
6. Tell the kids Santa will not be bringing many toys because this year there are so many unfortunate children he has to help out. Remind them of how lucky they.
7. Pick a name out of a hat and buy for one person rather than the whole family or all your friends.
8. Ask everyone to forego gifting giving and simply plan a special day together instead. Isn’t that what really counts?
9. Bake Christmas treats with your kids and box them up as gifts for relatives, teachers, coaches etc.
10. Count your blessings and do something to help others in greater need than yourself. There is nothing more gratifying or humbling than to be of service to others during the holidays. It might remind you of how little we all really need.
11. Focus on “togetherness” as the theme for this holiday season. Have a holiday pot-luck or host a holiday film night and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”, play Left, Right, Center (our new favorite family game), create a new family tradition together.
12. Take care of yourself during the holidays. Be mindful to not over-indulge. Eat well, get plenty of rest and exercise to stay balanced and reduce holidays stress.
13. The final and most important tip is to just relax and enjoy the holiday. If something is causing you lots of stress, then don’t do it. There are no rules. Just because your neighbor has 50,000 lights on his house doesn’t mean you must have any lights at all.
Don’t forget to give smiles and enjoy the season. That is the greatest gift you can give to the people around you, it’s free, it’s contagious and it doesn’t even require wrapping or pretty bows.