Traditionally, the idea of Christmas evokes nostalgic images of excited children, a twinkling tree, carol singing, a time for relaxation and coming together with loved ones. So when did the true meaning of Christmas get lost amidst frantic consumerism and over-the-top excess?
What should be a highlight of the year, a time for friends and families to reconnect and remember the important things in life, has become, for so many, a season of panic and pressures — time pressures, money pressures, social pressures… the list goes on. Christmas is not consumerism and yet we feel compelled to spend more and more each year, which not only misses the point of Christmas, but worryingly, leaves so many of us in debt before the new year even begins.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! With a little thought and consideration, you can avoid these pitfalls and make Christmas truly magical again - for yourself and your loved ones!
Here are three key reasons why you should consider a more mindful approach to Christmas this year:
Minimal is the new Merry – reduce Christmas excess to increase enjoyment all round!
We are all familiar with the saying “less is more” and when it comes to Christmas, it really couldn’t apply more!
We all know that unpleasant feeling of having overindulged in Christmas food and drink and similarly, how many well-intended but superfluous gifts simply end up gathering dust in the back of a cupboard. It’s not only unnecessary but incredibly wasteful, both from a financial and ecological aspect — and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the meaning of Christmas!
This year, why not try being more mindful about your purchases? Think quality over quantity, spend less and enjoy more. Consider giving home-made gifts that have a truly personal touch, or shop with intention, buying from ethical brands. Ultimately, the best gift we can give our loved ones is our time and attention — and this is where the Christmas magic lies!
The best gift we can give our loved ones is our time and attention — and this is where the Christmas magic lies!
Start the New Year out of the red — even Santa has a list (and checks it twice)!
For many of us, the expense of Christmas not only detracts from our enjoyment of it, but it can leave us in debt for weeks or even months to come. Why not get a head start on your January Resolutions by limiting the financial strain of Christmas? A great way to do this is to create a budget and stick to it. Carefully consider how much you can afford to spend over the Christmas period, allowing for all the usual expenditures - presents, food, decorations, socialising, travel etc. Once you have a clear idea as to how much you can afford to spend, you can then start to plan your Christmas accordingly.
Using the ideas for reducing unnecessary spending mentioned above and with a little creativity, you will find you can enjoy a wonderful Christmas without the worry of debts spiralling out of control. Not only that, you'll be able to start the New Year free from avoidable money-related stress and can focus your efforts onto the other resolutions you have!
Start the New Year free from avoidable money-related stress and focus your efforts onto the other resolutions you have!
The greatest gift of all — giving back!
With all the hype and excitement surrounding Christmas, it can be easy to forget all those who are less fortunate than ourselves, who don't have the luxury of enjoying Christmas as we do. Why not make the season of giving an opportunity for you to give something back and help make someone else’s Christmas magical? Consider donating to charity in place of buying gifts – a small sacrifice that could make a big difference. Alternatively, wherever possible, buy gifts from charities or organisations who give back – such as SisterWorks, who help women migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, by producing beautiful handmade products - which make perfect gifts!
Make Christmas meaningful again and give yourself the gift of peace of mind!
By taking a more mindful approach to your Christmas spending, you can make 2018 the year you rediscover the true meaning of Christmas, recapture the magic and make an incredibly positive head start to the New Year!
By Gemma Coldwell - Contributing editor