Managing Christmas Expectations – Part One

It may only be October, but the first signs of the Christmas season have already started to appear in stores across the city. It is that time of year when you start to think about making Christmas plans and taking holidays. While the festive season can bring joy and happiness to families, it is also a time of great stress.

As the Michael Bublé Christmas song says `It’s the most wonderful time of the year’, for some people the opposite is true. The holiday season can evoke a mixed range of emotions from memories of the loss of loved ones through to navigating various family dynamics all bringing together different levels of stressors.

However, what causes a significant amount of stress is the expectation you hold of what Christmas should be. These unrealistic expectations have been promoted to us by the media and movies for their glamourisation of what the perfect Christmas should look and feel like.

Below are a few tips on how you to manage the expectations of Christmas and still have an enjoyable holiday season.

Be mindful of Christmas party invitations

While it may be great to celebrate the festive season with family, friends and work colleagues we should be mindful that not everyone can afford to attend every party. This can lead some people to feel left out and isolated from their groups that they were a part of all year. If someone declines an invitation don’t pressure them into attending, simply accept their response.

Set healthy spending expectations

The cost of presents and the requests from children of what they want can leave you feeling overwhelmed and over budget. You want to keep your children and others you buy for happy, but the financial strain of purchasing the latest `tech’ is way out of your reach. Instead have the conversation with them about realistic gift expectations and that Christmas is not just about getting the most expensive gift but spending quality time with family, friends and loved ones.

Let go of expectations of what Christmas should look like

You can still have the perfect Christmas without the expensive dinners, experiences and decorations. You don’t have to have the most extravagant Christmas, simple is always the best. Setting impossible standards only increases the stress placed on yourself.  For example, the Christmas tree doesn’t have to be perfect.  It doesn’t matter if it is a little lopsided, it will create a fun talking point and create fond memories to look back on later.

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