5 tips for avoiding Christmas stress

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Christmas is an exciting time of the year, but it can be stressful too.

Of course, this year’s festive period is going to be different to what we’re used to.

Coronavirus has affected people in many different ways. While some changes may have reduced your stress levels, such as saving more from a cancelled holiday or not worrying about what to wear for the office Christmas party – but for some, financial difficulties or distance from family and friends has created a new set of challenges.

To help, we’ve put together some tips to help prepare you for the Christmas season — even in these strange times.

Our tips to avoid holiday stress can help you adapt to new ways that will help make Christmas less stressful now and in years to come.

Create and stick to a Christmas budget

It can be tempting at Christmas to spend more. However, it’s important to only spend what you can afford.

It takes people an average of seven months to pay off for their Christmas credit spend, according to a study by debt charity StepChange.

How do you know how much you can afford? We recommend creating a budget — and sticking to it.

Budgeting is a great way to manage your finances and understand your incomings and outgoings. We have a handy budgeting tool on our MoneySure page to get you started.

A budget can also help prevent expensive impulse buying.

Carefully considering how much you can afford to spend will help you start the new year in the best possible way, rather than still worrying about the cost of Christmas.

Of course, keeping track of your spending isn’t just for Christmas. For tips you can use all year, visit our guide on how to stick to a budget.

 

Plan ahead … and have a backup plan!

There is always so much to remember during the festive season. So, it’s a good idea to have a planner; this can be online or physical — whichever you prefer.

Using a planner can help you keep track of great ideas. And avoid unnecessary Christmas stress too, such as forgetting to pay a bill.

You can use a calendar to note down any important dates and deadlines.

You may also want to create lists for things such as:

  • Gifts to buy
  • Food shopping
  • Christmas cards to send
  • Inspiration for COVID-safe activities and things to do

As well as having a plan, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan too. You may not want to think about it, but it’s wise in case new restrictions are imposed.

So, think about the things you may need to make your Christmas at home as comfortable as possible — even if you spend some of the season in lockdown or isolating.

Embrace online shopping

This year has seen a surge in the number of online sales, according to the ONS.

If you haven’t already made the move to shop online, the holiday season is the time to do it.

There’s no need to rush from shop to shop in the rain looking for that last gift on Christmas Eve. You can eliminate the stress by safely shopping online. You can even send your presents directly to your friends and family members. No wrapping needed!

As long as you can resist the temptation of buying more than you need, shopping online can even help you save money as it’s easier to shop around to find better deals.

There are lots of price comparison sites where you can search for items big and small. You can even use extensions to help, such as Honey. This free tool looks for discount and promotion codes at the checkout and applies them for you.

Although online shopping can ease some worries, the pandemic will mean demand is higher than ever. So, don’t leave it too late. You’ll need to allow plenty of time for delivery.

Whilst shopping online you should also stay vigilant to online scams. To find out more visit our guide on online safety.

 

Clean and declutter your home

It can be tempting to put your Christmas tree up and forget about all the mess. But stop. It’ll look so much better if you prepare your home first.

Taking the time to get your place ready for the festivities can be extremely rewarding.

So, make sure you declutter first so that you can fully enjoy your decorations.

Clearing out the things you don’t use anymore will also leave more room for what Father Christmas is bringing.

And while you’re sorting through your stuff, you may even find things you can regift to others. Win-win.

Ensure you try and get enough rest

This year, many of your winter plans - such as pantomimes and Christmas markets - will be cancelled. Although this is probably disappointing, a positive is that this can save you time as well as money.

Christmas will look a little different this year but, if you can, use this as an opportunity to rest and enjoy simple pleasures.

2020 has been a challenging year for many. Giving yourself the time and space to unwind is important for both your physical and mental health.

And if you’ve got a budget, a clear plan, a tidy home, and presents being delivered to your door, it’ll be a lot easier to relax.