Reduce Stress By Giving Fewer Christmas Presents

Reduce Stress By Giving Fewer Christmas Presents 1

Well, Christmas is breathing down upon us now and you are either getting a little overwhelmed by all of the things still left to do or you are trying to ignore the whole thing and hoping it all goes away.

For us, Christmas is a very quiet, calm affair in which we show up to a relatives home on Christmas Day with a salad and a fruit platter (summer Christmas here) and a bunch of scratch and win lotto tickets in an envelope. I do feel for those whose Christmases are more stressful and require the purchasing of lots of gifts in order to keep the family happy.

One of my pet peeves is the tendency for people to over buy for their children. I read an article recently that expressed the view that four gifts are plenty to be giving any child on Christmas Day. Thinking back, I realised that we had always done it this way. For us, the joy is in buying a couple of gifts we know our children will want and appreciate. We like to see them open a present and spend time enjoying it rather than throwing it immediately aside in the race to see what the next one holds.

My favourite Christmas memory is my son opening a big box to find a sand digging toy inside. He had been wanting one for months and was quivering with excitement when he opened it. It was wonderful to see how much the gift hit the mark and he spent hours playing with it that day. Because there weren’t a whole pile of other toys to open, he was able to enjoy this toy without any distractions. The experience was not diluted because of a mountain of other gifts and he didn’t have to decide which one to play with and which ones to leave for later.

Recently a friend shared her thoughts about Christmas. The key theme was stress. Insane shopping, spending too much money on gifts, fighting with the spouse over presents, watching the children throw the expensive gifts aside and play with the boxes and then the extra clutter of presents everywhere in the aftermath. All of these things add up to extreme stress and angst for the whole family.

That is not what I want my children to understand about Christmas. It is not meant to be about consuming as much food, spending as much money and acquiring as much stuff as humanly possible, despite what the retail market would like to have us believe.

For me, it is about connecting with the important people in our lives and spending quality time together. Even though at times this can be a little difficult to achieve given all of the different personalities involved, it is something we aspire to regardless.

I urge you to consider the message you are sending to your children this Christmas. Do you want it to be all about the stuff or do you want it to be about the people?

If you believe that the stuff you already have in your home is sending the wrong message to your family about what is important in life, then the 30 Day Decluttering Challenge can get you back on the right track.

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