As the holiday season begins to kick into full swing, there are those who embrace every festive aspect, and those who are left emotionally, physically and financially exhausted after a month of chasing the holiday spirit.
It can be a stressful time of year for many, with expectations, family obligations and shopping lists running high especially when Australians spend an average of $955 over the holiday season and less than half (45%) stick to a budget (according to the latest ASIC Money Smart research).
But it doesn’t have to be. This season is meant to be enjoyed, not stressed over, and you don’t need to spend big to enjoy your favourite traditions.
What’s your favourite thing about Christmas? With many Australians facing a stretched holiday budget, these people remind us the best holiday traditions are free.
Here are some ways you can reduce stress this holiday season, including financial stress.
Think experiences, not gifts. Take some of the pressure off with gift giving and arrange to spend time with friends and family instead. Take advantage of the many free activities organised by local councils at this time of year, like movies in the park, Christmas parades or looking at lights.
Embrace potluck. Ask family members to each contribute a dish at family gatherings. This not only reduces the preparation pressure on the host, but the financial pressure too, and is a fun way to connect through sharing food and recipes. Shop lightly for the rest of the week and make the best use of leftovers.
Shop smart. Start your shopping early, to make use of sales outside the peak season and before your calendar fills with commitments. Shopping online is an easy way to compare prices across several retailers and saves you from having to battle for a carpark. It’s also fun when all the parcels start arriving at your door.
Secret Santa. Establish some gift giving ground rules with your family. Consider running a Secret Santa, setting a dollar limit, children-only gift giving, or homemade gifts. By following this simple checklist and creating a realistic and manageable budget, we hope you have an enjoyable holiday season.