Seriously, not many people really look forward to Christmas – do you… really?
The stress involved in organising and preparing meals, buying gifts or arranging a Christmas party can have the opposite effect to what most of us would like to achieve at this time of year. And the financial anxiety that can eventuate when credit card bills arrive in January can be a very unwelcome hangover.
The good thing is that you get another chance each year to do things differently so you can have a different and much better Christmas this time around. Here are some ideas:
- Work out a rough budget for your Christmas gifts. It’s a good idea to start a Christmas savings account during the year that takes the pressure off. But if you worry about spending too much, suggest changes to the way that you and your family or friends give gifts—perhaps giving to children only, buying gifts under a set figure, or buying for just one person each in the group (aka ‘Secret Santa’). An even better habit is to leave your credit card at home when you go shopping. By taking only cash you will be sure to stay within your limits.
- Start shopping for gifts early. A survey found that 60% of Australians dislike Christmas shopping and no doubt much of this feeling would be due to the pressure of last-minute trips to overcrowded shopping centres. Make a list of the gifts you need for each person in advance so you don’t waste precious time “browsing”. And don’t forget a few extras such as shortbread biscuits for those unexpected guests.
- If you are having family or friends over for a Christmas meal, share tasks with your guests rather than doing everything yourself. Ask everyone to bring a plate to create a buffet style meal. Arrange an activity that will help everyone to enjoy their time (such as backyard cricket or pool games) and even games at the table will help to avoid any problems caused by conflicting family relationships.
Like anything, when you plan ahead, you remove a lot of the pressure… Christmas is no different. Merry Christmas!