It’s time to face the facts. Christmas is not always the cheery time of the year we make it out to be. It’s full of stress and costs us in every way.

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Like most, I have loved Christmas for as long as I have lived. We all have those wonderful childhood memories embedded in our mind.

The new bike with training wheels, the soaps and talcum powder from Nana, and the smorgasbord of food that Mom had slaved for days to make. Ahhhh, such joyous times, or are they?

via 4westmorrow

What is Christmas, or more to the point, what has it become? The older I get, the less I like what I see. The stress and strain that Christmas creates is mostly underestimated.

Now, the last thing we want to do is be the Christmas Grinch. The reason for this post is to say it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and anxious. In fact, according to Relationships Australia, it’s normal.

via psyche central

Apparently, Christmas is known to bring on extreme depression for many. This includes those who are divorced, socially isolated, or, who have experienced a death.

Buying gifts (great ones here), managing family tensions, seating arrangements, and food are the icing on the Christmas Cake!

chill pills via etsy 

What about those that have complex family structures to deal with, like step-families and blended families? It’s a nightmare. To say you need these Chill Pills on standby is an understatement!

It’s also a high time for suicide and separations. The thought of new years resolutions are too much for many to bear.

via wedding bee

Quite often it’s a deadline they place on themselves and they feel the pressure to start fresh. It’s a testing time of the year that is of our own doing and we pay for the privilege.

Banks, Department Stores and Advertisers are rubbing their hands with glee. Christmas can’t take all the blame though.

slip covers via amazon

No longer is it over and we are staring down the barrel at New Years Eve, Valentines Day and then Easter. It is never ending and designed to keep us in a constant spending cycle.

Money is the root of all evil and it is also the thing most people fight about. We have been doing our best to get people to take up the 52-week money challenge and we’re happy to see so many jump on board. That said, with the global economic outlook and work uncertainty, it’s time to get real about Christmas spending.

via Holy Mess 

Only this week, a good friend of mine told me how stressed out they were with the burgeoning and ever expanding extended family that they see once a year.

The cost of gifts was outrageous! I suggested they look at doing a Kris Kringle. I truly believe that everyone’s family would not only benefit from the savings but would love the experience of seeing how well people could buy for the nominated amount.

Christmas Rules via Etsy 

Throughout the year you can take advantage of sales and bag that bargain. On the day, everyone can show off how far their money went.

Can you begin to imagine how much better people would feel knowing they didn’t have to remortgage their house for Christmas? You could make it $5 or $50 but remember to be mindful of everyone’s financial position.

via natural beach living

Christmas should be about PRESENCE not PRESENTS. We say that it’s the thought that counts. It’s now time to put that into practice. It’s also a great way to show kids that money is valued.

As you can see from the infographic above, you can still get value for $5 and those dollar stores are brimming with bargains. There are some fabulous Stocking Stuffer ideas for under $5.

via pastels and macarons 

You may have big spenders in your family. Don’t feel the need to keep up with them. Instead, be assertive. Consider organizing a family meeting to discuss your proposal. You can bet that behind the scenes, everyone is wanting the same.

Also, do not let the food fall on one family members shoulders. You should all partake in bringing something to the table, literally. Just because it’s someone’s ‘turn this year’, they shouldn’t be a slave to the rest of the family. Try using some of the tips outlined in the above infographic to get pre-organized and remain stress free.

via temple & webster

It takes one brave soul to come forward and make change. Money should be spent on things that people want and need, not frittered away. Most of those gifts are stuck in a cupboard, thrown out or cashed up or exchanged. Save everyone the hassle.

Do a Kris Kringle, a White Elephant, group gifts or something homemade like these Treat Jars from Bakerella.

There are many ways that you can ease the financial burden. If you tell the kids that they can either have everything on one day, or spread throughout the year, you can bet what they will pick.

via kiddie matters

Why not encourage the family to partake in the 30-day kindness challenge. There are lots of great ideas in the infographic above and it will help them understand what TRUE Christmas Spirit is.

Be sensible and avoid the Christmas hangover. Be the person that gives the ultimate gift and sets everyone free from expectation and financial hardship. They will love you for it! If all else fails, be sure to enlist the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It will be your secret weapon in the holidays!

Want more? See the best explanation ever when it comes to the question “Is Santa Real” – read our post here.

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