Thursday, December 09, 2010

Less Stress Christmas

How am I going to have time to get it all done?
Should I buy a gift for a friend ... we have never exchanged gifts before ... I don't want to offend her ... what if she buys me a gift?
Our son wants a car .... we can afford a bike.

Any of that sound familiar?

A couple of tips to reduce the stress of this time of year:

1. Don't charge your Christmas presents.

Only spend what you have that isn't allocated towards previous commitments (for example: mortagage, car payment) or a need (food, electricity, etc.).

We were so excited about our budget spending plan the first year that we were telling everyone how wonderful it was. That was 20 years ago and we are still telling everyone! After that first Christmas on a spending plan, a friend called to thank us for our Christmas present to them. I'm thinking ... "it wasn't that great of a present to warrant this enthusiasm." But our friend thanked us for talking about getting out of debt. She said that was the first Christmas that they had not charged their Christmas presents. After Christmas, they would have the stress of all those bills to face. She said it was their best Christmas ever.

2. Give gifts with meaning, not just something to say that I have given a gift. See our marriage blog for some ideas on gifts for your marriage. Ask yourself the question "what can I give that will still be here after I am gone?" Usually, the Gift of Presence last longer than gifts of presents. As
I look around and think about Christmas, the times we made cookies or went to the Nutcraker ballet with my mother and our kids are the memories and times I cherish the most. Who can remember the presents 20 years later? The Presence lasts forever. Or consider a gift that will bring spiritual growth, which will go with us into eternity - an Eternal Presence.

We are celebrating the Prince of Peace. I pray that I will let His Peace live in me .... a less stress Christmas.