Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone it’s time for us to prepare for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/whatever winter holiday you celebrate. This time of year is supposed to bring us joy, happiness, and a healthy dose of family and friends. For some it’s a time of faith for others it’s all about the gifts. For me it’s about spending time with my family and loved ones while enjoying the weather. Everyone is a little different.
I work retail though so I see the darker side of the holidays on a daily basis. The holidays also happen to be a time for people to stress themselves out and/or make themselves miserable. People fight and claw their way through crowds of people just to pay exorbitant amounts of cash for a gift that will supposedly make someone’s entire year. They wear themselves out physically and spend more money than they have. It’s gotten to the point where the holidays are more of a hassle than they should be which kind of goes against the whole spirit of the season.
I’d like to deal out some helpful tips to cheering up this holiday season. We all need a little help from one another and this is my contribution to spreading the holiday cheer!
Don’t worry, be happy.
Oh gosh, I’m sure you’re thinking “Really? So original.” but I’m serious. Just put the gift purchasing/extended family visiting/general craziness of the season to the side and take some time to be happy. This could be anything from taking a day off work to catch up on sleep to curling up with a cup of hot cocoa while playing your favorite video game. Find your happy place and go there! Maybe you would really love to just sit down and watch a movie with your family or friends or maybe you just want to be as alone as possible and read a book. The possibilities are endless but the goal is the same – take some time for yourself every once and awhile and enjoy the season.
Is it that important? Probably not.
Stress is on the rise this time of year. People force themselves into various stressful scenarios, especially when it comes to gift giving. Not everyone celebrates a holiday at the end of the year and not every holiday involves gift giving, but for those that celebrate a gift giving tradition: cool your jets! Gifts are not that important. Sure, everyone in your family gets and gives them but that doesn’t mean you need to lose all your hair over that toy your little brother wants so very badly. It’s just a gift. So what if someone else bought the last one? Who cares if you end up having to get another gift instead? Do you really want to punch that lady and go to jail because she nabbed the last Xbox One? It’s supposed to be about the thought of the gift and the fact that it was bought, not “OMG THIS ISN’T MY DREAM GIFT GET OUT” so relax. Get him a copy of The Avengers on Blu-ray. It’s the perfect gift and it’s a good price!
Beware of pirates. And sales.
Those sales may look pretty and enticing, but think of them as sirens. They lure you in with promising deals and splendid quantities but eventually drain your wallet and eventually end your LIFE! Ok, that’s overly dramatic and false but you get the point. For example, there was a Steam sale recently and I know of a lot of people who spent over a hundred dollars on video games. I love video games and hey, $3 for a game is pretty awesome, but have some restraint and OMG over a hundred dollars on $3 games? Are there even that many? Probably. Anyway are you playing all of those games at the same time right away? Probably not. Just buy what you really need or want and save the rest for the next sale. There are like four big Steam sales a year. This also goes for regular shopping. Just because the sweaters are all 30% off doesn’t mean you need to buy 3 for every member of your family. One each will suffice. You aunt doesn’t even like hoodies. Don’t buy her one. My point is that your shouldn’t push the limits of your finances for a couple extra gifts (even if they are for yourself). This is a year round warning, but it’s most applicable this time of year.
Cut the crowds, shop online.
This is like, the most helpful tip ever (in my opinion). Instead of spending hours of your life in retail stores and traffic all around town, go online to get your must have stuff from your house or a nearby Starbucks (for you wi-fi savvy folks). There are plenty of places in which you can do all your shopping from the comfort of your home (eBay, Amazon, Target.com, etc). It’s so much easier to sit by the fire in your pj’s and do your shopping than to go to a store and fight the masses for one thing that may or may not be in stock. This is a good way to eliminate stress and keep track of your funds. I find it easier to know how much I am spending when shopping online. Being able to see the total before paying without the hassle of feeling guilty for holding up the line while you remove things from you cart makes it easy to keep an eye on how much you are actually spending. Some people don’t even look at the total in stores, they just swipe their credit card and go. Don’t be one of those people. All I’m saying is that there are easier ways to get stuff done. Much easier ways. (Don’t tell my employers I told you this though.)
So don’t let the zombies shopping at the mall stress you out and don’t worry about that iPad you dad wants more than anything ever. Just sit back, remember these tips, and enjoy yourself. You deserve it! Got any tips of your own? Share them!