It’s Christmas time again! For many what should be one of the happiest times of the year turns into nothing but a stressful nightmare. In this article, money coach and financial counsellor, RAEWYN BLOMFIELD outlines some great ideas that will help to transform your festive season into an enjoyable and memorable occasion.
Shut your eyes for a moment. Imagine a ‘normal’ scene at Christmas.
- Happy children running around?
- Indulgent grandparents looking on fondly?
- Hubby cracking a can with his mates over at the barbie?
- Jet lagged family just arrived from afar bearing beautifully wrapped gifts?
STOP – It’s not real.
Far too many people get caught up in the ‘Ideal Family’ projected by TV sitcoms. They wrongly compare their own family Christmas gatherings – and not surprisingly they start to look pretty shabby by comparison.
So what steps can you take to create the perfect Christmas?
Dial down your expectations:
- The meal doesn’t have to be perfect.
- The table doesn’t have to groan with food.
- The kids don’t have to be on their best behaviour for hours at a time.
- You don’t have to buy such expensive presents that you’ve got to use the credit card
Recognise that heightened emotions can spill over into conflict.
If some of the family rub others up the wrong way, have a plan:
- See them at different times around Christmas Eve/Day.
- Have an outdoors game with plenty of action that everyone can join in.
- Control the amount of alcohol put out at any one time.
- Remind them of the family rules.
Plan your time as carefully as you plan your money.
Getting through end-of-year events, then Christmas, then the long holidays is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Don’t allow yourself, or the family to get too tired.
- Recognise the signs when people have had enough and take action.
- Create a new ‘chill out’ family tradition by dining by candlelight on Christmas Eve.
- Think before you accept every Christmas/end of year invitation. Measure it against your family’s time, energy and money.
Here’s an activity to uncover what’s really important to your family at Christmas.
Sit your children down, and ask them:
What does your ideal Christmas look like?
Ask for as many describing words as their age – so a five year old would offer five suggestions, a 13 year old, 13.
What do they say? Is it the presents or is it the experience of being close to family members they don’t see often?
Ask them to imagine themselves in mid January, thinking about going back to school. When they look back on the Christmas break, what will they remember?
One of the few blessings of COVID, is that it forces everybody to re-examine their Christmas traditions. Dust off your family’s traditions, discard those which no longer work, and adopt the ones which reflect your new reality.
Money coach and financial counsellor, Raewyn Blomfield, is the principal of Money Health Money Wealth. Raewyn helps people to manage their money and take control of their spending and debt so they can achieve their financial dreams. If you would like to find out more about her services you can contact Raewyn by calling her on 0468 317 259 or simply send her an email.
General Advice Warning: This blog is not designed to replace professional advice. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice, in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs before making any decision as to what is appropriate for you.