How to Have a Stress-Free Christmas
As we prepare to shop, wrap gifts, and reflect on the year, let us have a stress-free Christmas by doing five things that can help us mind our mental health this season.
Welcome to the 40th post of The Aim and Soar Life, a weekly Christian personal growth and lifestyle blog/newsletter that provides actionable, relatable, biblically rooted content to help you live abundantly and GROW YOU. GOD’S WAY.
The Christmas season is upon us and the theme for the month is Mental Wealth. As we prepare to shop, wrap gifts, and reflect on the year, let us have a stress-free Christmas by doing five things that can help us mind our mental health this season.
Many of us took hits this year. Some were financial, while others were emotional.
At a time of year when we should be celebrating the miraculous birth of Christ and His imminent Second Coming, it’s easy for stress to creep in due to economic woes and uncertainty of what the future may hold. A stress-free Christmas is possible even if life isn’t going the way you’d like.
Here are some tips to help you:
1. Don’t Go into Debt with Credit Cards
It’s certainly lovely to give and receive gifts. But let’s face it, money is tight for a lot of people right now, no matter what their profession is.
This is the perfect time to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. We often say it as a cliché while we run around and spend thousands of dollars on unnecessary stuff, only to regret it later.
Being in debt when Christmas is over is sure to rob you of your mental health and you can totally avoid it.
If your pockets are saying “no,” you must agree with them! Put the credit cards on ice (literally, if you have to—in the freezer). Make a commitment not to use them. When January rolls around you will be more than glad that you didn’t give in to using them.
2. Create a Budget and Stick to It
Whatever money you have to work with in terms of buying gifts is all you have to work with. As my thirty-something-year-old god-daughter says, “That’s it and that’s all.” If all you can afford is $100 for gifts this year, so be it. Not one person is going to be adversely affected by not receiving a gift.
We have commercialized Christmas so much that people feel guilty about not buying expensive gifts they can’t afford. I have done it before and I’m officially over it and have been for quite a while.
This is a good time to use the envelope system. When the money in that envelope is gone, that’s it for gifts. Period.
3. Keep It Real
If you have children or grandchildren, keep it real. Let them know not to expect everything they may want and let them know why.
I never taught my son the “Santa thing” so it was easier for me to explain my budget constraints to him when he was young. Sometimes I had to say no. He never missed a beat because others would always buy him gifts, like his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Let your kids know it can’t be done this year and do what you can do instead.
Children especially need to be taught that Christmas is about celebrating Jesus and not them! Neglecting to teach them this can easily lead to them making Christmas all about what they want. It fosters a self-centered spirit that can carry into adulthood.
One thing my mom always taught me was to “be grateful if someone does something nice for you or gives you a gift, but don’t expect it because no one owes you anything.” That advice is still pertinent today.
Now, I’m getting ready to step on some toes, but if your spouse is a “kid” in terms of expecting gifts that are going to cause you and your family to get into debt, some really tough conversations need to happen.
Generational wealth cannot be built with mounds of debt. It’s important for everyone in your household to be on the same page when it comes to building wealth. And even if you can’t build wealth right now, there is no point in going backward by creating a bunch of debt!
4. Share Your Gifts
A little thought goes a long way. If you are creative and you bake, bake some inexpensive treats to give as gifts. It’s the thought that counts. Some people are extremely talented with crafts. Those make for great gifts as well. I know quite a few people who make inexpensive jewelry and other small art pieces that they have given away as gifts.
If you lack in the creative department, give your time. Ask someone if they need assistance with housework, shopping, or errands. There are many ways to be a blessing without spending a lot of money. Embrace an attitude of service.
Volunteer at your church and local community outreach centers. Go against the grain by giving God’s way.
5. Develop a Kingdom “Mindset”
Pop psychology calls it a “mindset,” but Jesus coined it first! He tells us in Scripture to focus our minds on God—to seek after the things of God first. He knows what we need. Wants do not equal needs.
Change your focus and appreciate the small, beautiful blessings we sometimes take for granted.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
I love the “Whatsoevers” found in Philippians 4:8. God has been telling us all along to focus our minds on the right things. The things that matter. The things that are lasting.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8, NKJV
A Kingdom mindset is zeroed in on Jesus—what God wants. The Kingdom mindset is concerned with winning souls for Christ—witnessing with your life.
If we are truly going to have a stress-free Christmas, we’ve got to say no to debt, stick to a budget, keep it real about our finances, share our gifts, and develop a Kingdom mindset.
Every day when I wake up and pray, I ask the Lord to use me for His good pleasure. When we are truly focused on God, it’s nearly impossible to focus on our problems, our supposed lack, and our frustrations.
The Lord says we have what we need. We must wait on Him for the rest.
Until Next Time,
GROW YOU. GOD’S WAY.
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