How I took the stress out of Christmas

I have always loved Christmas, but in recent years it’s started to stress me out a lot.

The main reason for the stress is Christmas presents. I put huge amounts of pressure and expectation on myself to buy wonderful thoughtful presents, not buy vouchers or, worse, just give money. This makes the lead up an absolute nightmare as I start to get annoyed and then panic.

The truth is these days we live in a “now” society, and many people are fortunate enough to be able to buy themselves things as they want them throughout the year, rather than waiting for Santa to come. So then you’re either buying people something they already have, or something they don’t really need or want, just to say you’ve bought a present. Lifestyles have changed too. No-one buys DVDs or CDs as gifts now we’ve all got Netflix and Spotify. Everything is expensive. My brother only wears branded expensive clothes. My Mom says she’ll be happy “with anything”. And my mother-in-law is 81; what can you buy an 81 year old?!

It sounds cheesy to say, but when I think of Christmas, I don’t get a warm feeling from receiving gifts. I love putting up decorations and watching Christmas films. When I think back to Christmas Days gone past I couldn’t tell you what gifts I received, but I could tell you how I love cooking roast turkey and all the trimmings, how I keep my mother in law topped up with whiskey, how we settle down to watch a film in the afternoon and I invariably fall asleep. Those are the things that make Christmas for me.

So, last year, we made a decision not to buy presents for adults in the family. And it made life so much easier. It may sound Scrooge-esque, but the lead up to the big day was so much nicer without endlessly trawling websites looking for gift inspiration, and keeping all receipts safe and sound in case you need to return something in January <<shudder>>

Of course, having a 1 year old nephew makes Christmas different these days, and all the more exciting. And yes he will be spoilt. There is absolutely no stress in buying presents for children – the only problem is when to stop!

I know the world is pretty weird right now, and for many people Christmas may be the one thing to look forward to, but if you struggle with gift buying – either from an ideas point of view, or because it’s just so damn expensive – then I really recommend having a chat with your family and suggesting getting back to the real spirit of Christmas. You may find they’ve already been thinking the same thing but didn’t know how to approach the subject.

But if you are buying gifts, try to support businesses who have struggled this year due to the weird world we find ourselves in. Independents will value your custom so much more than big corporates. Something handmade or a voucher for a local restaurant might just help to keep a small trader in business into 2021.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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