The Christmas Season

The Christmas Season

06/12/2018 0 By Anthony Ekanem

It’s another Christmas season.  How time flies!  The Christmas season is a festive time filled with family, friends and goodwill. It is a time of high expectations and confrontation. Every member of the family is typically expecting wonderful things to occur.  For younger children, the alarm clock can’t ring early enough on Christmas morning. They’re eager to see what presents Santa may have left for them. However, once they get a bit older, they will likely be less excited about getting up in the wee hours of the morning. If there are still young kids in the house, explain to your teens that it’s important for the entire family to be involved in Christmas activities. If all of your kids have grown out of “Santa age,” you can easily push back your Christmas morning celebration to early afternoon.

The foods that you eat for Christmas dinner can become just as much of a tradition as the dinner itself. So, you may not be too happy if and when a family member wants spaghetti rather than ham and potatoes. Instead of changing the menu completely, come to a compromise. Cook a smaller portion of whatever your family member wants along with your traditional Christmas fare. Let the whole family try it. If they like it, add it to the menu as part of your annual feast.

A strained financial situation is one of the main causes of arguments among couples, and the holiday season means even more strain than usual. If you and your loved one are arguing over how much a holiday party might cost, work out a budget together and stick to it while you plan your party. If that person thinks you’re spending too much or too little on gifts for the kids, create a gift list with them and decide how much you’ll spend on each child.

If your family spends every single holiday at your parents’ house, your significant other might decide that it’s time for a change. It’s important to reach a compromise so that they get to partake in their Christmas tradition as well. You might alternate between family Christmas parties from year to year, or spend the morning with one family and the evening with the other. There are several options to consider which makes it fair to everyone involved.

HOW TO CUT CHRISTMAS SPENDING

If money is tight this holiday season, why not consider cutting back on your holiday spending? Take a minute to read through the following suggestions. Saving money at Christmas time is probably easier than you think!

  1. Set a Budget

It’s important to set a budget for yourself before you start buying gifts. It’s easy to spend too much when you’re not keeping track of your purchases. More importantly, it can be financially dangerous for people who find themselves living from paycheck to paycheck. That being said, set a monetary limit for yourself and stick to it. This will help to ensure that you don’t go overboard while shopping and ease the financial stress that Christmas tends to bring with it.

  1. Baked Goods and Do-It-Yourself Gifts

DIY or “do-it-yourself” gifts are a very heartfelt and widely popular way to express how you feel about the important people in your life. You’ll find a wide variety of customizable ideas for DIY projects, as well as tutorials on how to make them, on popular websites like Pinterest and Facebook.

Baking treats for the people on your gift list is also a greatly appreciated, age-old tradition. You can keep it simple and make a communal plate of treats for your co-workers, or personalize things by whipping up some of each individual’s favorite sweets. In most cases, buying the materials and/or ingredients needed for DIY gifts and baked goods will cost significantly less because you have to create the product, rather than buy one that’s already made.

  1. Organize a Secret Santa Christmas

Secret Santa is a fun tradition for many people during the holidays. It is most commonly implemented among friends and co-workers, as a means to save a substantial chunk of gift-giving change. Because Secret Santa involves drawing a random name from a collection of participants, you’re limited to buying just one gift for the person whose name you drew, rather than a gift for everyone in your circle.

While it may be difficult to get young children on board with the idea of receiving only one gift for Christmas, it’s often a home run for families with children who have grown up and understand the importance of limiting spending during this time of the year.

  1. Shop All Year Round

For many people, shopping for Christmas gifts all year round is arguably the best way to cut costs on holiday spending. This reduces much of the frustration of holiday shopping, and also saves you from buying gifts at inflated (pre-holiday) prices. Year-round shopping allows you to take advantage of amazing sales you can generally find throughout the year.

HOW TO REDUCE CHRISTMAS STRESS

For many families, the Christmas season is the most wonderful time of the year. But, the high expectations that come along with the holidays can lead to stress, depression or disappointment. With so many things that we need to get done in order to spread holiday cheer, it can be pretty easy to get overwhelmed. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself feeling merry and mellow this Christmas.

  1. Get Started Early

It’s never too early to start getting ready for next Christmas. Always keep an eye out for festive decorations or the perfect Christmas card while you’re out shopping. Not only will this give you less to worry about when Christmas is just around the corner, but buying holiday supplies off-season can also save you money. If the family Christmas festivities are going to be held at your house this year, start preparing weeks ahead.

      2. Connect with Family

The stress of the holidays is much easier to manage when you’re able to use the time to reconnect with family. Find new, fun ways to get into the holiday spirit together. You might try decorating Christmas stockings together as a family, or singing carols around your community. You could even volunteer together at a local food bank or toy drive and help to spread some Christmas cheer.

     3. Bring Down Expectations

Over-hype and high expectations make preparing for Christmas festivities much more stressful. If you worry yourself over having the best decorations, the most presents, or the most memorable dinner party, you could end up trying too hard (and going a little crazy). Try to keep your family more focused on family and being together than they are decorations or presents.

     4. Cut Down on Spending

Financial issues are one of the leading causes of stress, and Christmas tends to be a very costly time. Try to save money where you can so that you have one less thing to worry about. Think of inexpensive or sentimental gifts that you can give, rather than something costly from the store. The same goes for decorating. Homemade decorations for the house or tree save money, as well as provide an activity the whole family can enjoy.

     5. Ask for Help

It’s very difficult to get everything done on your own during the Christmas season. But, you don’t have to get it all done by yourself. The ideal people to go to for help would be your family. All of the stress-inducing chores that you need to take care of can become fun family activities. Not only will this make things easier, but your family is sure to cherish Christmas all the more if everyone helped make it happen together.

If you feel anxious when Christmas is a few weeks (or even months) away, you’re not alone. Many people consider the Christmas holidays to be the most stressful time of the year. But, as long as you avoid the over-hype and encourage your family to have realistic expectations, everybody in your family should have a peaceful and merry Christmas.

HOW TO STAY HEALTHY AT CHRISTMAS

If you’re trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the holidays can be a real setback. Watching your diet is next to impossible with so many Christmas feasts to tempt you. Germs are hard to avoid on a train or plane ride to visit relatives. And, if traveling doesn’t make you sick, a little too much Christmas eggnog just might. Follow this advice to keep yourself feeling happy and healthy this holiday season.

  • Whether you’re hosting the family Christmas festivities or simply attending, keep yourself focused more on fun traditions and activities and less on dinner and dessert.
  • Go light on the gravy. Using less sauce or gravy on your foods should lead to a healthier meal.
  • Don’t underestimate a healthy breakfast. A good breakfast can keep you from feeling hungry later in the day and resorting to less-than-healthy Christmas treats.
  • Stay away from holiday stress. Stress makes you feel anxious and irritable, and even has a negative impact on your immune system.
  • Plan fun family activities that get you moving. Sledding or ice skating are both fitness-friendly options.
  • If you plan to travel using mass transit, carry sanitary wipes with you and wipe down surfaces in your area. Make sure you get the armrests, tray table and seat belt buckle.
  • Keep yourself active, even if you’re travelling. If you have to wait for your flight to be ready to board, walk around the airport terminal rather than sitting to wait.
  • Chew gum after eating a meal to help resist the urge for after-dinner snacks.
  • If you’ll be staying in a hotel this holiday season, try to find one with a pool or fitness center. This will give you a place to get active in between family functions.
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to forget to stay hydrated during a busy holiday season, especially if it gets cold where you live.
  • Instead of candy, encourage your family to eat fruits like apples and oranges. They’re a healthier way to satisfy cravings for sweets.
  • If you’re going to be drinking wine or eggnog, make sure you know your limits. A Christmas morning hangover can be devastating, especially if you’re going to be around excited kids who want to open presents.
  • For every alcoholic beverage you drink, try to also drink a glass of water. This will leave you feeling hydrated and hangover free the next morning.
  • Consider using a fitness app on your smart phone to set fitness goals and keep track of how much exercise you get over the holidays.

When all is said and done, it’s important to remember not to get down on yourself, in the event you “slip up” during the Christmas holiday season. After all, it’s typically the time to spend with family and friends enjoying yourself.

You can always get back on track after the holiday is over. That’s what the New Year is for, or so the experts say. If it makes you feel better, you can even try to be a bit more health-conscious in January and February. Things usually have a way of evening out!

HOW TO SAY NO AT CHRISTMAS

From the toy aisle to the Christmas dinner table, the holiday season is full of “no’s.” It’s important to be able to say no when it comes to things that you can’t do (or even don’t want to do). However, the high expectations of the holiday season makes saying no to friends, family, or even complete strangers very difficult. After all, everyone knows that Christmas is all about giving. Don’t be afraid of coming across like a Grinch, though. Here are some tips on saying no – even at Christmas.

  1. Stay Positive

Even if you’re saying no, you can still present your case in a positive way. If someone’s asking you to organize a holiday party or to set up decorations, try to highlight the benefits of doing things a different way rather than the negative aspects of their plan. If your kids can’t live without a certain toy, try to keep them focused on the positive rather than simply telling them no.

     2. Be Confident

People can often tell when you’re feeling unsure of yourself and this can make them less willing to take no for an answer. If you want people to take you seriously, it’s important that you project confidence. When you need to tell someone no, say it with conviction so they can see that you’re serious. This doesn’t mean that you need to be aggressive or rude. Just be firm and clear, and stand up for yourself.

     3. Find a Better Solution

If you’re telling someone no about something but you don’t have an alternative to suggest, the person you’re talking to isn’t likely to come up with a new plan. Instead, they will probably try to find a way to make their initial suggestion seem more agreeable to you. And, while a compromise like this may be better, you’ll still end up doing something that doesn’t agree with you. Instead, try to come up with an alternative plan yourself. They just may go along with it, and that way you can avoid their suggestion without actually saying no.

    4. Avoid an Argument

Any disagreement can turn into an argument at any moment, especially during the Christmas season. With tensions running so high, even the smallest issue can turn into a Christmas confrontation. If saying no causes an argument, ask if you can discuss the subject once things have calmed down. Arguing isn’t likely to lead to an agreeable solution, and can also cause feelings to be hurt.

    5. Stick to Your Guns

Stick to your guns, no matter how hard someone tries to sway your decision. Remember, you don’t need to feel guilty about saying no. There’s no need to be upset about it either. The vast majority of the time, it really is in everyone’s best interest. Simple explain that you’re not saying “no” to be mean or disagreeable. Reiterate the reason or reasons why you’re saying no, as gently as you can.

Yes, believe it or not, it’s entirely possible to say “no” at Christmas. Armed with all of the tips listed above, the task is probably easier than you think.

One of the most crucial things to remember, any time of the year, is that everyone mourns differently. The process typically depends on things like religious beliefs, relationship to the person who died, age and overall family bonds.

If this is the first Christmas without your loved one, expect things to be difficult at times. The only thing you can do is take it one day at a time and to try not to be hard on yourself or others. Concentrate on the wonderful memories of the person or people you’ve lost. Things generally have a way of getting better, over time.