I am 40 years old but still when it comes to this time of year, I get all excited and I won’t sleep a wink the night before Christmas. All through the month of December, I can’t wait until the 25th.
My wife has 3 kids to deal with for a few weeks instead of two…
… but there are a few things I really hate about the holiday season too. So I want to tell you about my love/hate relationship with the holiday season, then I want to ask you a small favor.
Why not share what you love or hate about the holiday season in the comments below? – but please don’t forget that small favor – I’d really appreciate it!
3 Things I Hate About The Holiday Season
So though, as I said, I do love this time of year, there are a few things that I’m starting to notice and that are starting to irk me more and more…
1. The Hype
The first and most obvious thing I hate about the festive season is that it is so over-hyped, from waaaaaay before we’re even into December, retailers and the media start to promote the holiday season. Whether it’s ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Happy Christmas’, Black Friday or Holiday Sales, Christmas music and Christmas jingles starting on the radio in mid autumn…
I find it all a little too much and it ruins what I think the true spirit of the holidays should be about.
2. The Stress
For people who don’t have very much, I believe all of this hype can make the holiday season a very stressful time indeed. All of the over-commercialization, the mass consumerism around this time of year and the constant reminder that we need to be happy and full of the joys of Christmas can put pressure on those who are struggling.
Even for people who are getting by financially, a lot of people over-stretch themselves and spend far too much money on presents, often because they feel that it’s what is expected of them or what they should do or what they should spend rather than what they want to offer. i.e. they are more guided by external influences such as what they did last year, what they always do, what their friends or even strangers tell them, or worse still, what they learn from the media.
Plus, a lot of people are lonely over the holiday season, all of the hype can’t make this situation any easier.
3. The Waste
All of this adds up, unfortunately to a lot of waste at this time of year.
For me, there’s nothing worse than waste, and as someone who is generally very happy with what we have, the last thing I want is to be given an expensive gift that I don’t need or want and then have to pretend ‘oh that’s really nice’. I’d rather receive nothing at all.
That being said, like anyone, I do like to get presents for Christmas. So, when it comes to my presents, the deal I have with my kids is that they can buy me a present but it should be something very cheap – second hand from a thrift/charity shop or something from a 99p shop. You can get some very interesting gifts from a 99p (99 cent) shop!
Otherwise we tend to buy consumables like bath products or luxury food items.
Unfortunately, many people waste far too much money at this time (in my opinion). How many unwanted gifts will be given this year? How many people will buy presents and look at the price tag, saying ‘Do you think we spent enough?’ (that’s the wrong question). How many kids will throw tantrums because they didn’t get everything they wanted, and because they have been taught to expect so much and their values got a little screwed up along the way by parents giving them everything they ask for?
Believe me, if you do spoil everybody at Christmas time/over the holiday season, it will end in tears at some point or other.
3 Things I Love About The Holiday Season
Before you label me Grinch or Scrooge, I’m not. I did say that OVERALL, I love Christmas, and done right, it is just the best time.
Here are the three things I love the most about the holiday season.
1. The Anticipation
The anticipation, the counting down to Christmas day with the advent calendars, the family time and spending time enjoying the build up (i.e. within the month of December) without all of the commercial hype is my first favorite thing.
As I said, I do love surprises.
Little ones so there is little risk of waste.
In fact, thinking about it, my favorite presents through the years, even as a child have been relatively little things that have had a big impact on me. My childhood hero was Severiano Ballesteros and one year my father bought me a book all about Seve with pictures in it of some of his best moments – that year he got me a twin casssette stereo too (I know, sounds ancient but believe it or not that was the latest technology at the time) which I was very happy with but the present I was most happy with that year was my book about Seve.
These days, more than my own surprises, I love watching my children get surprises. Knowing something that they’re going to love (or even better that you’re pretty sure they’re going to love but just not 100% sure) and then seeing them receive that gift is one of the best moments.
When it comes to buying presents for our kids, we make sure we’re getting things they’ll actually want (even if these are surprises, they’re usually pretty sure bets) and we focus on quality rather than quantity (and we certainly don’t worry about spending the same as others external to our family – we spend an appropriate amount that makes sense to us and our situation).
3. Family & Friends
I love Christmas the way we do it, with a few modest presents, some great food, a roaring fire, some games, some music and perhaps a movie or two.
The main thing in our household is the family and at Christmas time, that means the kids.
Before and after our cottage-style Christmas, we visit friends and relatives.
Is There A Point Here?
If there is a point it is to avoid getting swept up in the hype.
Don’t let the holiday season be a time of pressure. Enjoy the time to reconnect with family and friends and keep things in perspective when it comes to spending and exchange of gifts – it’s about quality, not quantity.
A Small Favor
For all of those people we can’t see, we send cards and Christmas & New Years wishes.
The latest article on my new site networkingsecrets.net is all about this common practice and how it is a great time to network – to reach out to old friends, to catch up with people, perhaps to mend arguments – you may find the article interesting, it’s a quick read. Check it out here:
The favor is this: at the end of that article I have a few online friends of my own I’d like to thank, and I’d like to introduce you to at least one of them, it would mean a lot to me if you check out that brief article and the small favor at the end.
Happy Christmas & very best wishes for 2014!!