Reduce Christmas stress this year!
Here's how to get started:
Christmas stress is a reality if you're like most Americans. The
begins earlier and earlier every year. Millions try to simplify Christmas to handle the Christmas stress that grows each year due to:emotional obligationsdebt from gift buyingchild behavior problemsincreasing holiday clutter
Let's go through these one at a time for further explanation and, of course, tips for how to manage.
1. Emotional obligations
If you find yourself doing more and more in the month of December and resenting it more each year, it's time to
simplify your Christmas
. If you yourself don't set some limits for your own sanity, no one else will, either. This is the most common reason for stress and anxiety.
Understand that YOU control your holiday and can include or eliminate any activity. Talk with your family to make some decisions about what traditions stay and what goes.
2. Debt from gift buying
According to the American Consumer Credit Council, the average American spends almost $1000 on Christmas each year, adding onto already existing debt. Add the prevailing credit card interest rate of 17% and you can see how this financial problem grows quickly.
Tips:Talk with your extended family—you may not be alone in feeling financially overwhelmed. Try a gift exchange with one family member instead of presents for everyone.Give presents to kids only and not adults.Encourage your kids to buy presents for each other with a set budget—I give each of my kids $25 for them to buy presents for their two siblings and parents. And we shop at the thrift store. Sometimes they consolidate to buy a joint gift. It's not huge, but they experiment with
and use some autonomy over gift buying, which takes it off my shoulders.
3. Child behavior problems
What is it about the impending onslaught of toys that turn kids into rude, entitled brats? Oh right—it's the impending onslaught of toys.
avoid t.v. and the mall--unplug as much as possible from media outlets. Commercials on t.v. promote the latest (and expensive) toys for kids. The mall dangles all sorts of desirable things for kids. Avoid them as much as you can.4. Holiday clutter
Well intentioned gift giving relatives can contribute enormous quantities of new stuff each year into the home. For many families, this is the biggest source of Christmas stress.
requesting fewer presents
for yourself and your kids. Request consumable gifts for yourself that don't end up as clutter such as Harry and David fruitAsk for a large needed item that people can contribute toRequest gift cards that you can shop withAsk for donations made in a charitable organization of your (or their) choice
Don't feel guilty
if you decide to get rid of something
Think back to the simple days of Christmases past that you may have read about. I remember in the Little House series the children were thrilled to get an orange in their Christmas stocking. An orange! There is a balance that can be struck that preserves the meaning of the holiday for you and your family while still honors your sanity and your pocketbook. Good luck conquering Christmas stress!
Go to Simplify Christmas from Christmas Stress