Jingle Bells, Credit Card Hell

This is the second article in my series on reducing stress at Christmas time.

Many people spend so much money on food and presents at Christmas time that it takes months of financial hardship to pay off the debt. Some get very stressed and panic, searching the world for the “perfect” presents. Some start buying next years presents on Boxing Day and spend the next 364 days searching for and worrying about Christmas presents.

Sound familiar?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY you torture yourself in this way? The answers that many people give include:
-I want to show them how much I care
-I don’t have a choice. Everyone in the family spends this amount.
-I don’t get to see them very often, so this is to make up for that.
-Children expect large presents these days and they need to have the latest gadgets.

If you looked a little deeper, perhaps you would see that what you are really doing is “people pleasing”, or trying to please everyone else so they will like or love you, regardless of the cost to yourself. You compare yourself to others, and worry about what “they” would think of you, even if “they” are strangers.

Before you start your Christmas shopping this year, start by jotting down a few points on each of the following questions:
1. What does Christmas mean to you?
2. What are the important things that YOU want to focus on this Christmas season?
3. How can you go about achieving these goals and aims, while respecting yourself and taking loving care of yourself at the same time?
4. How much can you reasonably afford to spend this year?
5. Do you need to buy presents for everyone? Create your own personal policy on who you buy for and what you spend.

Perhaps you can have a conversation with your family about reducing the amount that each person spends on food and presents. You may decide only to buy presents for the children. Perhaps your most important aim for Christmas is to celebrate your spiritual life or spend time with family or friends, so you don’t buy presents at all.

For me, the best presents are the ones you can’t buy- a hug, telling someone that you love and appreciate them, spending time with those you care about, a small handmade gift.

Whatever you decide to do, start with the premise that you are a lovable and acceptable person exactly as you are, and you don’t need to buy someone’s love with a gift or prove anything to anyone. The gifts of self-love and self-acceptance are the best gift you can give yourself and others this Christmas. 

© Bernadette Blake 2013 www.BeEmpoweredNow.com.au

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