The festive season is well and truly upon us! Extended trading hours are now in place and a visit to the supermarket sees shelves overflowing with Christmas decorations, themed foods and of course toys and gift ideas. The hype will see retail sales increase dramatically leading up to Christmas day, but Christmas day itself is the least active day of the year commercially in the western world.
The festive season comes at the end of one year and the beginning of the next, and is a time to reflect on what has been, and what is to come.
It’s a time to have a break, and share some time with loved ones.
However, for some Christmas can be a stressful time and it’s important to reduce stress where possible. Financial stress is probably the number one concern for most people – it helps to put a budget in place, identify your surplus cash and put it aside in a special account, and avoid large amounts of credit card debt that can seem insurmountable when the time comes to pay it back.
Christmas shopping early (before the shops get too busy) or buying off the internet can also reduce stress. Make a list of who you need to buy for, and buy a couple of extra presents, such as chocolates, for emergency spares.
When it comes to buying presents, some strategies to reduce both the financial pressure and working out what to buy for people are to agree with your circle of friends and family a cap on the value of gifts, and/or have a Kris Kringle where each person is responsible for buying just one present. Alternatively you could agree that not everyone receives a present from everyone else – perhaps outside your immediate family you only buy for the children in the extended group.
Delegate some of the tasks associated with hosting Christmas dinner, and keep the menu simple.
A little too much Christmas cheer can result in disputes that can really tarnish what promised to be an otherwise great day. Provide plenty of water and non-alcoholic options.