Making Christmas a time of joy for you

It seems to arrive earlier and earlier every year. Just when you thought Christmas was only weeks ago, suddenly it’s only weeks away! While children count down the days, Christmas for many adults can be a difficult time.

The stress involved in organising and preparing meals, buying gifts or arranging a Christmas party can have the opposite effect to what most of us would like to achieve at this time of year. And the financial anxiety that can eventuate when credit card bills arrive in January can be a most unwelcome reminder.

The good thing is that you get another chance each year to do things differently so you can have a different and much better Christmas this time around. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a Christmas budget.
    It’s a good idea to start a Christmas savings account early in the year that relieves the financial pressure. But if you worry about spending too much, suggest changes to the way that you and your family or friends exchange gifts—perhaps giving to children only, buying gifts under a set figure, or buying for just one person each in the group (aka ‘Secret Santa’). An even better habit is to leave your credit card at home when you go shopping. By taking only cash you will be sure to stay within your limits.
  • Share the joy and the load.
    If family or friends are coming to your house for a Christmas meal, share tasks with your guests rather than doing everything yourself. Ask everyone to bring a plate to create a buffet-style meal. Arrange an activity that will help everyone to enjoy their time (such as backyard cricket or pool games). Games that can be played at the table may help to avoid any problems caused by difficult family relationships.
  • Swapping a Christmas getaway
    It is said that a change is as good as a holiday, so if you’re yearning to get away from it all this Christmas but think you can’t afford it, why not house-swap for the holidays? There are plenty of services available. Type “house swapping services” into your favourite search engine. The opportunities are enormous!

Like anything, when you plan ahead, you remove a lot of the pressure... Christmas is no different.

Merry Christmas!