It’s almost Halloween, but I started hearing Christmas carols over a month ago. Retailers are worried in this economic environment and rightly so. We probably won’t be spending as much on pearls and minks this year. Sigh.
But it got me to thinking about Christmas stress in Christmases Past, and I’ve come up with 7 solid reasons why it is very expensive to reduce holiday stress:
1. Saving face. Imagine if you announced at the Thanksgiving holiday feast that you couldn’t afford Christmas giving this year. Embarrassing? Perhaps. Your younger brother would be thinking, aha! I told him/her not to invest in that stock market. Mom would be worrying, are they all right? Do I have to dig into my pension and send them a bit every now and then?…you get the picture. There may be some shame involved in admitting you just can’t make it.
2. Mindreading. And that segues to this one. How do we know that’s what they are thinking? We don’t. And yet the thoughts may persist, circling like buzzards overhead. Somewhat like that nightmare of imagining ourselves naked in front of that auditorium full of people waiting to hear our great speech.
3. Other’s expectations. In addition to mindreading and saving face, some folks will just consider it their right to get lots of expensive presents from you. Read that the little kids on your list. Or that new girlfriend or boyfriend. Yes?
4. Media. I mentioned the Christmas carols above. Go into any grocery store and watch their end-of-aisle displays of red and green. It’s starting. Newspapers. Magazines. TV, of course. It’s there, and the presssure is unrelenting.
5. Inertia. It’s hard to fight tradition. We’ve always done it that way. And we always will. I remember one Christmas trying to sneak a little nutmeg (along with the cinnamon) into the pumpkin pie. Ouch! Heard about that one for years! Tradition is tradition is tradition. Folks don’t want it to change one little bit.
6. “It’s only…” thinking. That controlling part inside you chants this mantra: It’s only 45 more days. I can do this. I can make it. I can go without sleep, money, good sense, calm moments. It’s only 44 more days. I can do this without gaining weight, spending money, losing my sense of humor. It’s only 43 more days. I can do this…
The funny thing is, YES, you can! In the next week or so I’ll be posting a series of can-do articles about how to make THIS Christmas season a little easier on you and yours.