Dealing with Christmas stress
You’re not alone if you’re not exactly feeling in the holiday spirit this year. Too many crowds, too much Christmas music, too many family obligations.
It can all be a bit too much. The holidays can get us down, but we can also fight back. So how exactly do you fight back? Kick the Stress
You can kick the holiday stress by doing as much planning as possible. Plan your time with extended family, plan who’s cooking what on the day, and where you need to be. The more you schedule things (and stick to that schedule), the more likely you won’t be stressed out by having to make a dozen last-minute decisions.
Remember That Moderation is Best
It’s easy to go overboard with everything during the holidays. We tell ourselves, ‘‘Hey, I deserve this’’ or ‘‘I can pay for this after Christmas.’’ Sometimes we feel like it’ll help the stress, it may feel that way at the time, but come New Year, it will make things so much more difficult, particularly if your finances are stretched anyway. It is difficult to stick to a budget, particularly throughout the festive season, but making sure you don’t overspend will help you keep to reasonable limits, while allowing yourself to enjoy the holiday season.
Don’t Try to Change Anything Big
Want to improve your relationship with a family member? Take baby steps to work on more clearly communicating with them without snark, sarcasm, or bringing up past embarrassments or hurts.
Actions speak louder than words, so no need to tell others you’re working on improving these things — just do it.
Prepare for the Tense or Awkward Situations A good offense is the best defense, the saying goes. So if you prepare ahead of time for such situations by setting realistic expectations and work to minimise conflict with others.
It may also help to give yourself some alone-time after interacting with a particularly unhelpful family member. Excuse yourself and go for a nice brisk walk outside to help clear your head and re-establish your calm. ‘‘Da, Da, Da, Da, Here comes the bride’’.
Well, that’s followed by: ‘‘Da, Da, Da, Da, Here comes the bill’’.
I listened to Neil Roberts, founder of peer-to-peer lender Harmoney talking about ‘‘loan stories’’ recently.
My heart sank when he talked about a man who borrowed because all three of his daughters were getting married in the same year. Daughters, that is not on!
Your father gave you life. He raised you. He gave you love and encouragement, and what? You left him in debt?
Dad was about to be an empty nester. He should be saving for his retirement, not repaying wedding debt.
I shudder at how much he may have borrowed. There’s one estimate being bandied about that the ‘‘average’’ New Zealand wedding costs $35,000.
I do not believe that is possible. How can young people faced with high house prices, student debt and saving for their retirement blow $35,000 on a single day?
Dads of New Zealand, you hold a very sacred and special place in your daughters’ lives.
You are a mentor, a role-model, a trusted adviser, a bulwark against a hard, hard world.
For all these reasons, you shouldn’t be funding their weddings unless you are loaded, and are working hard on building up their sense of entitlement.
Weddings are fine, but they are not as good as a) house deposits, b) student loan repayments, and c) savings.
This being true, the cost of weddings should be kept low.
The best weddings I have been to didn’t cost much (including my own all those years’ ago).
The worst ones (sometimes with the shortest-lived marriages) were the most expensive.
I believe wholeheartedly in not imposing a wedding list on your poor relations, borrowing the venue, and getting wed in pretty civvies not specially made finery.
All those years’ ago, the Mrs and I managed to borrow a 15th century chapel in Cambridge, where we lived. We rented a cottage by the river in Grantchester because all our friends were poor and couldn’t afford decent hotels. There was no wedding list. We self-catered.
It was poverty economics at work, and opportunism. We didn’t have any money, and it would never have occurred to us to borrow.
The whole day cost next to nothing. It was lovely.
New Zealand is uniquely endowed for lovely penny-pinching weddings. You can wed anywhere, and we have beaches, parks, riversides and gardens in abundance.
You can pay a wedding celebrant (cost $150-$800), or have a private registry office wedding for $173.70, and have a beach ‘‘wedding’’ later with a friend or other loved on officiating.
One of the great modern freedoms is being able to break with costly tradition and do things your way.
Beach, sun, love, and very little expense. Weddings don’t have to cost the earth.