Christmas money worries

Christmas in 2020 will be an anxiety-inducing time for millions of people who have lost their job, lost hours, or lost income due to COVID-19.

And while most adults enjoy Christmas, it’s the biggest day of the year for kids.

Because of this, parents’ anxiety might be heightened. There simply isn’t enough money to spoil their kids as they might have done in Christmases past.

Unhelpful emotions such as guilt and shame can take hold.

If you find yourself in this situation, pause for a moment to take an objective look.

What can you do?

As with most circumstances, it’s our response that matters.

First, think of the factors that are outside your control. These could include:

  • Decisions made by others; government, employers etc.
  • COVID-related restrictions
  • Competition for a job
  • No money for presents on your kids’ wish lists

If the only things you can control are your thoughts and actions, focus on them.

Influence

Influence isn’t control, but you can help shape the world around you.

Can you influence your family’s approach to Christmas 2020?

Start talking with your kids now about ways Christmas could be special without an overflowing Christmas sack.  

Be honest with them. Show some vulnerability about your circumstances. Kids are naturally empathetic. They want you to be happy just as much as you want them to be.

Disappointment can be managed if you have the conversation early.

A Christmas list

We all crave control in our lives.

Spend the bulk of your time concentrating on what you have direct control over. What can you do to make Christmas the best it can be.

Here are 10 cheap or free things you could do that could make this Christmas one to remember.

  1. Give them something of yours they’ve always wanted
  2. Have a treasure hunt for treats around your house
  3. Hold a movie marathon with the films chosen by your kids
  4. Get creative with a backyard Olympics or Survivor challenge
  5. Go camping or take a road trip to your family’s favourite spot
  6. Make them laugh – whatever it takes
  7. Family face painting where the kids are the artists
  8. As a family, do something for someone else.  Frame it as a giving, not receiving, Christmas
  9. Make a rule that all gifts need to be made, not bought
  10. Cut the consumerism with a Kris Kringle where each family member buys for one other

If you’re a list-maker, write down what you can control, what you can’t control and what you can influence.

This helps you focus on what matters most – your thoughts, your actions.

And by ditching the worries centred on what’s outside your control, you’re free to do everything you can to make Christmas in 2020 a different, but extra special, day for your family.

Remember, community support services such as Foodbank and the Salvation Army can give you extra support. It’s ok to ask for help.

Mathew Churchill is a director of Resilience Builders.

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