How to Have a Merry but Stress Less Christmas

I know this is a bit late. But I know they are some people out there that start Christmas shopping right after Christmas, for the sales, and whatever else. Shopping is an addiction. I hope this helps other have a more cheerful Christmas with less stress, and more money in your pockets. These ideas can be applied to birthday presents, too.

Everyone knows how stressful Christmas can be. And yet, everyone we swear next year will be different, it will be less stressful. But the cycle just continues and things become more extravagant than the year prior.

If you are sort of in a holidaze from the stress, or from the mess of Christmas. I have solutions for you!

Cut Back on Gift Giving

Instead of going into thousands of dollars in debt, like some do. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a family discussion via Zoom, or Skype, depending on your restrictions. What I am trying to do is keep it simple as possible, but still enjoyable for others.

Buy them the following;

  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to wear
  • Something to read

That way you just only need to buy four things for everyone, instead of your typical pile of gifts. This is a good solution if you are looking for ways to cut back on buying some many presents for everyone.

Or another solution is to have everyone pitch in money for one big present.

Cut Back On Presents

Or perhaps you want to cut back on presents completely. That way you just enjoy each other’s company. Perhaps it has become too much hauling all of these presents to peoples’ houses. Or maybe you just don’t want to buy people actual presents, and objects. Then perhaps an idea for you would be to give people an experience. I hope things are different next year, where more things are more available for us to do.

Some ideas of experiences are,

  • Concert tickets
  • Movie/Plays/Stand up comedy, etc.
  • Spa Outing
  • Wine tasting (depending on the age of the recipient)
  • Other festivals if they are too young, or don’t drink

Give Others Your Time

Another solution is to give others your time, it’s free!

Perhaps you can offer a sibling, or a friend, or a neighbour a night off from their kids, so they can enjoy a night out. Or perhaps you know how to cook this delicious meal, you can teach someone else to make it. Or you know how to crochet, or knit, you can always offer to teach someone else how to do that.

By cutting back on giving out presents you don’t have to wrap any presents, which is a plus, too. Less work to do. And it also helps the environment, since most places don’t allow wrapping paper to be recycled, so all of that just ends up in a landfill. If you are still handing out gifts, perhaps you can use dish clothes, or scarves, or a blanket, instead.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is when you put names in a hat, and you secretly place names of everyone in the group. Each person pulls out a name from the hat. That is who they are supposed to shop for. You would have a discussed budget, of how much money you want to spend, and you have to stay under that amount. You can discuss some things you would like to receive for Christmas, and your Secret Santa will buy you some of those things for you.

Don’t be a Michael Scott

I don’t know how many of you watch The Office, but there was this one Christmas episode, where they did Secret Santa, they had a $20 limit. Michael bought a $400 iPod, and got mad because Phyllis was Michael’s Secret Santa, and she knitted him an oven mitt. Please don’t be that guy that overspends on Christmas, especially when you know this person doesn’t have a lot of money. You don’t want the other person to feel bad that you didn’t get as many presents as much as you had given them.

Respect Their Wishes

Sometimes people say they don’t want any gifts. Please know they really mean no gifts. Some people realize they are already happy with everything they already have, and would not have someone go out and spend money on them. There is no secret language to “No gifts”, that isn’t their way to trick you, and making you wonder if they actually mean. Or if it means they just “don’t know yet”. If someone tells you no gifts, please honour their wish.

Shoe Box Ideas

I just heard of this idea not too long ago. You can fill a shoe box, filled with envelopes with different gift cards to different occasions for each month. You can only open an envelope on the first day of the month, and you make plans sometime throughout the month to do that activity. This works great for children, because they get the activity and the anticipation of not knowing which adventure they will be partaking in. I think that is an amazing idea. And if you can’t afford to buy all of the gift cards at once, you can just write a letter and letting them about each activity. That way you just have to budget this in once a month, instead of having to come up with x amount of money before Christmas.

Or another idea is that you can ask other people for money, or ask for mini hygiene products, and perhaps a backpack they no longer use (but it’s still in good condition). You can fill up a backpack with toothbrushes, toothpaste, money, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, etc. You can give this to a homeless person, or to a shelter. I suggest using the traveler size of things, so it is easier for them to carry around, and you can fit more stuff in the bag.

Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be memorable. Christmas is about helping others, spread love, and happiness. We should begin to refrain ourselves from the commercialization, that we have suddenly allowed to be the norm of Christmas.

Advent Calendar of Kindness 2020 Day 21

I have really enjoyed writing about this topic of kindness, and how much joy we can spread to each other. It is a lot more positive than just spending money, making us go in debt.

Today’s challenge is to let someone know that they have changed your life, or has inspired you to do better. It can be written as a letter, email, or text message, or you can call up this person and let them how much of an impact they had on your life. I’m sure this person would love to hear that they had such an inspiring impact on your life.

Advent Calendar of Kindness 2020 Day 20

This is from Sunday.

I have always thought that it’s the best time to spread love and kindness than around Christmas time. Not everyone is fortunate enough to spend time with their families.

When someone asks you for help, say yes. Offer your time, and services. Perhaps your sibling can use a night off from the kids. You can offer to babysit your nieces and nephews. You can help them paint the kitchen, or any other projects that someone might need help with.

Although I know some places in the world may be in lockdown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help someone when the lockdown gets lifted.

Advent Calendar of Kindness 2020 Day 15

You should spend the day telling someone that you love them. Not only is it free, but this person would greatly appreciate hearing you say you love them. If you live with this person, say it to their face, if you can’t, you can message them, or write a letter.

It’s important to say this to those who you love., even if they already know that you love them.

To all of my followers, thank you for the likes and leaving kind words in the comments, just know I appreciate your love, and positive vibes. Thank you!

Advent Calendar of Kindness 2020 Day 12

This world needs more love, and right now we are in a dark place from the whole pandemic. People are in debt, not being happy. But what we can is, we can make others feel happy and good about themselves. Let’s learn to look past the negatives, and these hardships, and instead try our best to focus on the positives. There are positive times, but right now, it is just going to take a bit longer to actually see them.

Today’s challenge is leave a note for someone in your household to find. This note can have anything written on it. You can leave it in their coat, or their lunch bag, or you can hide it somewhere else, maybe a bit harder. You can write a positive affirmation, a favourite memory, a song lyric, a thank you, or I love you. Or if you are better at expressing your feelings through art, and drawing, you can draw them a quick sketch. I’m sure whatever you choose to decorate this note, I’m sure they will still love it.

Actions Speak For Themselves

As much as I wish, I wish I could only see the good in the world, but unfortunately that isn’t the whole truth. I have seen the not so good parts of the world, too. I wish I haven’t.

Some people make foolish choices, people lie, others backstab people close to them. Lovers who find each other, only to realize their timing is off. People who miss opportunities.

Yes, people make mistakes all the time. That’s sometimes the only way we learn, is through trial and error.

It’s how you handle your mistakes that is important. How you heal the ones you hurt and how you fix things that are broken. These are all important things to consider and to think about. You should be having a conversation after an argument to discuss next steps, and what happens next.

I have allowed other people, who I thought were close to me, hurt me, more than once. I am too kind of a person to push someone away despite them hurting me.

“If someone shows you who they are, believe them, the first time.”

-Maya Angelou

One of Oprah’s life lesson she has learnt from Maya Angelou is that once someone shows you their “dark side”, you should know they are showing you how they truly are to you. What I like about this quote is that you can’t really blame the other person for hurting you, because they have already showed you who they are. Sometimes people want to see the good in others, but sometimes, it’s not always there. It’s not okay to allow someone to hurt you or disappoint you over, and over again. That isn’t healthy, that’s the definition of insanity. Insanity is allowing the same thing to happen again, and again, but expecting a different outcome to occur. When you think things will get better, by doing nothing, you are lying to yourself.

People fail to realize that sometimes their tongue acts like a double edged sword. Once they release their words, they sometimes say something hurtful to their loved ones. I say double edged sword, because sometimes, not all the times, does that person feel bad for saying those words. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

People lie to you from time to time, not even thinking about it. These people think they didn’t do anything wrong. They walk around thinking that you’re naive or oblivious, and not aware that you can see right through them, and you know that they are hiding something from you. But their logic is, that if they don’t mention anything to you, then it doesn’t exist. They think that they aren’t lying, despite withholding the truth from you, or continuing to feed you white lies.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

-Mark Twain

I would rather be hurt with the truth once, instead of being sugarcoated, and have someone “protect” with a lie over, and over again.

I am not here to say mean stuff regarding other people, but it’s hurtful seeing people hurting the people they say they love. And I mean, they probably do, but you don’t go hurting the ones you love. That isn’t cool, nor acceptable at all.

“Don’t expect the person that hurt you to be the person who saves you.”

If someone has hurt you, and they never apologized for it, and they are no longer in your life. You just got to remove the feelings of hatred, or sadness from your heart. Those feelings are negative to have. Whenever you think of someone that has hurt you, forgive them, but don’t forget the lessons they have taught you. When you think of this person, send them forgiveness into the universe and good wishes to this person. Then let go with grace. Love can’t enter a heart that has hatred running through its veins.

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”

People should learn to treat other people better. They should do anything to see their loved ones happy, no matter what. The one who wipes away your tears, because you were crying from laughing too much, not because they made you sad. Someone who can’t wait to hear all about your day. Someone who makes you happy, someone who doesn’t like seeing you sad. Someone who wants you to succeed.

If you don’t have a person like this in your life, don’t feel sad, you’ll find this person. I like to think that everyone has a soulmate.

And for everyone who has had their heart broken, and never received an apology. I am so sorry that no one saw your value, but it’s their loss, because I’m sure whomever is reading this, is amazing.

Thankful Thursdays #22

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, what a perfect way to spend time truly thinking about you’re grateful for.

Every week I round up and think about what I am thankful for. I encourage everyone to do this activity.

Here is my list.

  1. I’m thankful for catching up with a friend I haven’t spoken to in a little while. I’m glad he is doing well.
  2. My boyfriend brought me my container from my sister’s house. I am currently going through at the moment. I’ve been trying to go through my things. It is a freeing and exciting project. Not only is it allowing me to find a home for these items, but it is also a great feeling knowing that I am helping others by donating things I no longer use or need anymore.
  3. My boyfriend and I did some decorating around our room. We hung up my lights. It is over my vision board. I think it is really pretty. I shared a photo below. It says, “Easy Does It”, it reminds when I have a lot going on, I remind myself to take things slowly, even if it is just one thing at a time.
  4. I was able to go out for more walks this week, although that may be why my back is a bit sore, but slowly getting better.
  5. I got to watch two football games yesterday, which was fun, although those games were a blow out, but still entertaining. When I watched the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign Performance during the halftime show between the Dallas and Washington football, I came across a new singer, Kane Brown. The Salvation Army accepts donations to help out those less fortunate. I really enjoyed his music performance.

Top Ten Tuesdays #13

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

The rules are simple: Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week is to honour America’s Thanksgiving, by expressing ten things we are thankful for. Even though I am a Canadian, and had already celebrated Thanksgiving last month, I figured I would write about what I am thankful grateful. It’s really beneficial to think and write about what you are thankful for.

This is in no particular order.

1. My family, and my boyfriend. Even though I wished I was able to see them more, but with the whole pandemic, we haven’t gotten together as much.

2. My friends. I don’t have many friends, which is okay, but for the few people I actually talk to, they’re awesome people. I wish I was able to hang out with them more.

3. Being able to help others. I love that feeling, being able to help brighten someone’s day.

4. My books. I love reading, and I am slowly reading more books from my bookshelves. I used to buy a whole bunch of books, and never actually get around to reading them. Which is why I have been spending more time reading them.

5. My tea collection. I enjoy making myself, and others a cup of tea, or even a latte (depending on which tea we’re having).

6. Sports. I love watching sports. My favourites are football, hockey, basketball, and baseball. I love reading about the players, the traditions, and superstitions. I love reading about the history of the team. I enjoy following stats about the players.

7. My room. I love my room. It has everything that I enjoy, my books, my tea, my mugs.

8. My laptop because I use it for my blogging.

9. My crockpot, because it allows me to make delicious soups, and pastas.

10. The ability to be comfortable with less – things, stress, debt. I am starting to understand the importance of feelings, and experiences, instead of being bombarded by all of these things.

I would love to see your list of things that you are grateful for.

Day 154 of 192

Today marks week number 22 of me getting rid of my things. I am happy with my progress. Mostly because I know that the things I have passed on to give to my Grandma, is going to be helping so many people. My Grandma is friends with all of her neighbours. I am so happy that I am able to help others.

I remember her telling me that she gave away some of my sweaters to a girl who’s husband had passed away earlier this year, and she doesn’t have many friends. I’m glad that she was able to benefit from things I have outgrown.

I know that many of my American followers are getting to celebrate Thanksgiving later this week. I know it must be challenging with the pandemic happening, but even if you spent some time donating some items to other people. You would feel a lot of joy knowing that you brighten someone else’s day. It can be a new way to spread holiday cheer, in case you have to break some traditions because of the pandemic.

Today’s item that I am planning on donating is this grey sweater. It used to be one of my favourite sweaters before I outgrow it. But a few years ago, my friend gave me of his sweaters which is really identical to this one, which is now my favourite sweater.

Day 140 of 192

Today marks week number 20! I am beyond proud of myself.

About two and a half years ago, I bought this sweater, and I wasn’t even looking for a sweater. I took the bus to the mall, and I saw my friend with her daughter. She was going to go home, but I told her I needed some help finding my bridesmaid dress. It was for my boyfriend’s brother’s wedding. So instead of her going home, her and I hung out for the day. Which was a lot of fun, since I haven’t seen her in such a long time.

My friend and I went looking in every store that sells clothes. At this time, I was obsessed with clothes, especially new and fancy/dressy clothes. So this was a real luxury for me.

Unfortunately I didn’t find my dress, but I was able to find all of these cool shirts, and this sweater. It was a really nice sweater, but I felt like it became too tight in the arms. I found it to be too uncomfortable.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I was able to find my bridesmaid dress, just in time for the wedding.