How to Have a Happy and Budget-Friendly Christmas

Updated: December 1, 2022

The holiday season is a time for happiness, celebrations, and cheers. But it can also be a time for stress, anxiety, and loneliness.

For some people, Christmas can be a difficult time, and even more so this year because of the pandemic.

So, let me try to give you a few tips today on how you can celebrate the holidays and be a little bit happier without breaking your budget.

These tips have helped me in the past and I’m sharing how I have applied them this year. My hope is that you’ll try them and will likewise experience the value they’ve brought me.

The Power of Giving

Money can buy happiness, but the key is to spend the money on others.

Numerous research shows that this is true. One scientist who did a study is Michael Norton, and you can watch him deliver a presentation about it here.

This holiday season, you can spend on gifts for family and friends, and you can also donate to charity. The good news is, the value of the gift or the amount of donation doesn’t matter. So, spend whatever your budget can afford.

Professor Norton’s research shows that the price tag is irrelevant and it really is the thought that counts. Your general sense of well-being will increase as long as you give wholeheartedly

Give the Gift of Time

A study by psychologist Ashley Whillans discovered that buying time can promote happiness. What does this mean? If you want to make someone happy, then give them some free time (and that someone can also be yourself).

For instance, once in a while, I would have food delivered to my parents so they won’t need to cook lunch or dinner anymore. Sometimes, I’d visit and do chores around their house, so they can just relax and enjoy the day.

Moreover, you can also give the gift of time to yourself. You don’t need to be busy and productive all the time, allow yourself to be in the present moment and do activities that you truly enjoy.

Eat a meal without looking at your phone, just savor your food. Don’t schedule anything one afternoon and just spend it listening to music or doing a hobby.

Or perhaps, instead of passing time by watching television, you can instead call a friend or chat with them online. Because during this time when we’re stuck at home on most days, feeling these social connections are vital for our well-being.

Experience Gratitude

Gratitude is good for our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. Being thankful and having the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness can help you become happier.

This is what psychology professor Robert Emmons says, who is considered to be the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude.

Start a gratitude journal and write at least one thing, every day, that you’re thankful for. It can be an act of kindness that was done to you, a funny meme that you saw, something new that you learned, or anything that made you smile.

Furthermore, you can also express this gratitude to others. Tell your family or friends how thankful you are that they’re in your life. This won’t cost you a cent, but it will pay you dividends in happiness.

This year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations will be different. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be happy and cheerful. And with these tips, I hope you’ll be able to make it merry and meaningful.

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