In late October, lots of Christmas goodies were appearing on the shelves of my local supermarket. When I remarked on this to a fellow shopper she said, “Don’t use the ‘C’ word. I’m worried about having enough money to buy presents for my kids. My credit card will ‘max out’ – yet again. The stress at Christmas really affects my health.”
Enjoy this excellent article with tips for a healthy and stress-free holiday season written by my Australian colleague Beverly Goldsmith.
Apparently many parents share the same feelings as that mother. A consumer credit counselling service reports that “eight out of ten people say financial difficulties are having a negative effect on their lives, jeopardizing their personal relationships, health and ability to carry out their jobs”. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time to have a worry-free Christmas – one that’s good for your health. It would seem entirely possible to be a relaxed, happy, healthy giver and spender – to enjoy the festive season with one’s family and friends.
Be an inspired giver
Inspiration could be described as a burst of creative thinking. It’s the “Aha moment” that can help you come up with practical, stress-reducing ideas for Christmas spending. It can also lead to the moment when you’re rescued from worrying about finances and gift-giving.
One early December morning, I woke-up totally stressed out over Christmas shopping. A fresh approach – a new attitude to gift-buying was needed. I spent some moments in calm contemplation. Then, with pen in hand, I waited patiently for a flash of inspiration. Ideas flowed. Looking at what I’d written down, I felt mentally energized. I was able to happily gift shop, and I’ve continued to do so.
● Spend some quiet time getting inspired about what to buy for family members.
● Think more about individual likes and needs before rushing to the stores, or hitting the computer button.
● Put more thought into gift-selection, rather than relying on impulse-buying.
● Stay calm, serene.
● Don’t feel pressured to get the shopping done.
Give from the heart – not just from the wallet
An inspired gift doesn’t have to cost “big bucks”. It’s not the price tag that denotes a truly worthy present. Giving something special to the person you care about, should be the result of loving thoughtfulness – not simply spending lots of cash.
My grandmother and her siblings used to receive an orange for Christmas. This may seem unusual. Yet, if you celebrated Christmas in the wintry depths of Scotland, as they did, a summer orange would actually be a very special treat.
● Give from the heart. Be prompted by good motives.
● Take the time to purchase a meaningful and thoughtful gift.
● Don’t be competitive and think you have to buy the biggest or most expensive present.
● Don’t get something just to impress your kids or loved-ones. It’s the “love-factor” that’s significant – not how much you spend.
For many people, this time of year is traditionally considered to be about love, peace and good will to men. This could be why many families place love at the top of their Christmas wish-list.
From the youngest to the oldest person in a community, there’s a yearning for that tender expression of heart-felt love which Christmas often inspires in people. Such love is more than words on a card. It’s the active, caring kind that can ultimately lead to a love-filled, happy Christmas.
● Spend extra time with your kids, or those you love.
● Show someone you care. Cook a meal, offer to do gardening, or run an errand.
● Resist being stressed out or financially burdened-down with preparations for the festive season.
● Be an unhurried friend, unharried shopper, unruffled neighbour, and an unflustered family member.
● Remember, it’s possible to be worry-free, and to stay healthy and well this Christmas.
Beverly Goldsmith is a Melbourne based health writer who provides a perspective on the connection between spirituality, thought and health. As a keen blogger, her aim is to provide the public with a diversity of health content including research into the mind-body connection and how thought affects health.