Over the years the way one feels about the Christmas season may change. Perhaps as a child it was a time of great excitement and lots of fun but as an adult one may find it stressful. People speak of Christmas as a time to celebrate with family and friends but for some it is just exhausting and expensive. Sometimes there are things we can do to take more control of the Christmas season.
I remember Christmas when I was a child. It was a wonderful time and it seemed such a long time from one Christmas to the next. I could not understand why the adult women all went off for a nap once the dishes were done after Christmas Day lunch. My cousins and I spent our time playing hide and seek or chasey, which seemed a much better way to spend oneís time. These days I truly understand the necessity of a siesta after hosting Christmas lunch.
During my childhood, present giving was a simpler affair. There were no credit cards to make it possible to go into debt over present buying. Lately there has been a revival of exchanging handmade gifts or second hand/recycled presents in some circles. However, present giving can still cause stress for many.
These days some people donít send Christmas cards or they have cut back on the number they buy. When the Christmas card list is long it does take quite a time to write all the cards and postage is an expense. You may find it possible to limit the number of cards you send and reduce a little of the stress. However, you may still want to give cards to people who really appreciate them.
Some families and circles of friends have decided the adults will not exchange presents. Particularly by middle age and beyond people often donít need the type of things that are frequently given as gifts. They probably have enough glassware and ornaments. They may even be trying to de-clutter or downsize. Many are trying to avoid eating chocolate and sweets and may be on special diets for health reasons.
It is common to go overboard when catering for Christmas lunch and tea. Some people have more than one Christmas gathering to cater for and the cost can be great. Over catering can lead to food wastage.
Some families have guests staying with them over the Christmas/ New Year period. They can feel pressured to get renovations done before the guests arrive and this adds to the stress of the season.
Christmas is a time when some feel they must Ďkeep up with the Jonesesí. They think they have to have a big Christmas tree with lots of decorations, lavish meals and all sorts of trimmings. Advertising can encourage overspending.
How can we reduce the stress of Christmas?
1. Discuss present and card giving with family and friends. It could be everyone is relieved if they donít have to spend so much time and money in this area.
2. Share the cost and work of catering for Christmas gatherings. Donít buy more food than is needed. Reject the pressure to spend more than you can afford.
3. Discuss the possibility of spreading out the gatherings over a longer period of time to avoid racing from one place to another on Christmas Day. This should allow people more time to actually connect.
4. Donít feel that everything has to be Ďperfectí by Christmas time. Avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.
5. Donít get Ďsuckedí into feeling you have to keep up with other people. If you would rather have a simple laid back Christmas celebration, then do it. On the other hand If you actually have the energy to go all out for Christmas, well go ahead and do it, but only if that brings you joy.
Sometimes one can get caught up in the general feeling of stress and rushing around during the Christmas season. Spend some time thinking about what you can manage and what you enjoy. Try to make this Christmas a time of sharing and joy rather than a time of exhaustion and overspending.