How to Have a Merry but Stress Less Christmas

I know this is a bit late. But I know they are some people out there that start Christmas shopping right after Christmas, for the sales, and whatever else. Shopping is an addiction. I hope this helps other have a more cheerful Christmas with less stress, and more money in your pockets. These ideas can be applied to birthday presents, too.

Everyone knows how stressful Christmas can be. And yet, everyone we swear next year will be different, it will be less stressful. But the cycle just continues and things become more extravagant than the year prior.

If you are sort of in a holidaze from the stress, or from the mess of Christmas. I have solutions for you!

Cut Back on Gift Giving

Instead of going into thousands of dollars in debt, like some do. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a family discussion via Zoom, or Skype, depending on your restrictions. What I am trying to do is keep it simple as possible, but still enjoyable for others.

Buy them the following;

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

That way you just only need to buy four things for everyone, instead of your typical pile of gifts. This is a good solution if you are looking for ways to cut back on buying some many presents for everyone.

Or another solution is to have everyone pitch in money for one big present.

Cut Back On Presents

Or perhaps you want to cut back on presents completely. That way you just enjoy each other’s company. Perhaps it has become too much hauling all of these presents to peoples’ houses. Or maybe you just don’t want to buy people actual presents, and objects. Then perhaps an idea for you would be to give people an experience. I hope things are different next year, where more things are more available for us to do.

Some ideas of experiences are,

  • Concert tickets
  • Movie/Plays/Stand up comedy, etc.
  • Spa Outing
  • Wine tasting (depending on the age of the recipient)
  • Other festivals if they are too young, or don’t drink

Give Others Your Time

Another solution is to give others your time, it’s free!

Perhaps you can offer a sibling, or a friend, or a neighbour a night off from their kids, so they can enjoy a night out. Or perhaps you know how to cook this delicious meal, you can teach someone else to make it. Or you know how to crochet, or knit, you can always offer to teach someone else how to do that.

By cutting back on giving out presents you don’t have to wrap any presents, which is a plus, too. Less work to do. And it also helps the environment, since most places don’t allow wrapping paper to be recycled, so all of that just ends up in a landfill. If you are still handing out gifts, perhaps you can use dish clothes, or scarves, or a blanket, instead.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is when you put names in a hat, and you secretly place names of everyone in the group. Each person pulls out a name from the hat. That is who they are supposed to shop for. You would have a discussed budget, of how much money you want to spend, and you have to stay under that amount. You can discuss some things you would like to receive for Christmas, and your Secret Santa will buy you some of those things for you.

Don’t be a Michael Scott

I don’t know how many of you watch The Office, but there was this one Christmas episode, where they did Secret Santa, they had a $20 limit. Michael bought a $400 iPod, and got mad because Phyllis was Michael’s Secret Santa, and she knitted him an oven mitt. Please don’t be that guy that overspends on Christmas, especially when you know this person doesn’t have a lot of money. You don’t want the other person to feel bad that you didn’t get as many presents as much as you had given them.

Respect Their Wishes

Sometimes people say they don’t want any gifts. Please know they really mean no gifts. Some people realize they are already happy with everything they already have, and would not have someone go out and spend money on them. There is no secret language to “No gifts”, that isn’t their way to trick you, and making you wonder if they actually mean. Or if it means they just “don’t know yet”. If someone tells you no gifts, please honour their wish.

Shoe Box Ideas

I just heard of this idea not too long ago. You can fill a shoe box, filled with envelopes with different gift cards to different occasions for each month. You can only open an envelope on the first day of the month, and you make plans sometime throughout the month to do that activity. This works great for children, because they get the activity and the anticipation of not knowing which adventure they will be partaking in. I think that is an amazing idea. And if you can’t afford to buy all of the gift cards at once, you can just write a letter and letting them about each activity. That way you just have to budget this in once a month, instead of having to come up with x amount of money before Christmas.

Or another idea is that you can ask other people for money, or ask for mini hygiene products, and perhaps a backpack they no longer use (but it’s still in good condition). You can fill up a backpack with toothbrushes, toothpaste, money, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, etc. You can give this to a homeless person, or to a shelter. I suggest using the traveler size of things, so it is easier for them to carry around, and you can fit more stuff in the bag.

Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be memorable. Christmas is about helping others, spread love, and happiness. We should begin to refrain ourselves from the commercialization, that we have suddenly allowed to be the norm of Christmas.

Day Eighteen

Hi friends! Wow, I can’t believe we are almost at the end of our 21 Day Gratitude Challenge. I hope you are starting to notice the difference already. And if you haven’t, that’s okay, sometimes things take a little while for great things to harvest.

Today, we are going to express our gratitude for our hardships and how we’ve overcame a challenge in our lives. Our challenges is what strengthens us. These experiences makes us realize what we truly want in life. We realized that we owe ourselves the best life possible. Maybe we come to the realization that we deserve a better job, where our work gets appreciated; a new job bring us new and great opportunities. Look for something better. Trust me. Staying at a job for too long, especially if you are unhappy, is almost like a waste of life. Your days are far more valuable to be anything but happy.

Or perhaps you come to the realization that you’re at the end of a loveless relationship or you realize that this isn’t going in a direction you had thought it was going in. And it’s okay to end a relationship or even take a break from each other. Just make sure you and your partner are respectful of each other.

For me, I feel like I need a new job because the one that I currently have just isn’t making me happy right now. So I just want something new and something that is fulfilling.

Do not let your hardships define who you are, but use them as stepping stones to get where you need to be. These kinds of changes don’t happen overnight. Be patient and gentle on yourself.

Whenever you overcome something you thought you couldn’t, you learn to appreciate your hard work and how you got there. Life and success aren’t mapped out in straight lines, so just because it took a little while longer than you thought it would, don’t be so hard on yourself.

For example, perhaps you are 33, and want to go back to school and pursue a different career like nursing. You might think that you’re “too old” because it is a four year major. Well guess what? In four years you’ll still be 37, you may as be a nurse too. So you go and get that major!

And also another thing is, you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. Everything will come to you when it is needed to come to you, when you need it. Not a minute late or earlier. This is where you are supposed to be. Don’t compare your chapter, to someone else’s book. Keep doing you. And never do anything you don’t want to do. Never let others persuade or pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do.

Don’t let anything or anyone bring you down. You go out and preserve. You can triumph your obstacles. I believe in you. Chase your dreams, and don’t let your hardships stop you from being you are destined to be.

“I made it through the darkest part of the night

And now I see the sunrise

Now, I feel glorious.”

-Macklemore ft. Skylar Grey, Glorious