It’s that time of year when everyone is rushing around trying to complete their Christmas shopping in record time. The queues are long, the shops are full and purses are feeling the strain. In fact sometimes, far from being the most wonderful time of the year, the build up can be a mountain of stress and aggravation for a number of reasons. Is it really the most wonderful time of the year?
Life in general has become more stressful but Christmas time in particular can cause a whole host of other stresses, some of which are caused by the joys of Christmas shopping itself.
I have to admit, I hate queuing and always manage to find a little way around it whenever possible. Except at Christmas, when there is no escape whatsoever from the hustle and bustle of the high street. So instead of venturing out and braving the Christmas shopping crowds, I much prefer to shop from the comfort of my sofa.
Goodness knows how many years of our lives we spend waiting for deliveries especially at this time of year. Time saved purchasing presents on line sometimes pales into oblivion when you’re then waiting infinitely for this that and the other to (not) arrive. I don’t really understand why some delivery companies can specify a time window but others can’t even get the day right. I’ve lost count of the number of occasions I’ve received messages informing me of a phantom delivery slot only for me then to spend even more precious Lady Janey time chasing these companies up.
Returns, Exchanges, Terms & Conditions
This always puts me off buying things, particularly from the Internet. Although it’s good to be super organised, if you buy too early before Christmas, then you should check any returns policies carefully. In addition, the return postage costs can sometime be incurred should the buyer change their mind about the purchase. Some terms and conditions are fairly straightforward but some require legal training to decipher and however talented I personally may be, it’s one thing that I just don’t have!
Cost, cost and more cost
Every year, Christmas just seems to get more and more expensive. One example being the appearance of ‘super’ advent calendars. Gone are the days of finding a chocolate the size of a small pea behind each door. Instead you can now purchase a whole range of calendars containing everything from beer and wine to pork scratchings. There’s also just far too much choice with presents in general, there’s so much pressure to spend and it’s so easy to get carried away with purchases especially when ordering online meaning that costs – and debts – soon mount up.
The time between Halloween and Christmas seems to pass so fast. One minute you think you have all the time in the world, the next you’re darting around the town centre on a last minute sprint- and then there’s still something you’ve forgotten! Then it’s all over again- until next year.
5 ways to reduce stress this Christmas
- Be as organised as you can in advance.
With MS, this is one of my strategies anyway as need to plan ahead as never know from one day to the next when a relapse will next strike. There’s still time to supermarket order a festive ‘big shop’, as it’s far less stressful to pop in for a few bits than to battle your way around a supermarket in the days leading up to Christmas. In the same way, pre order bulk Christmas present items so if you do need to venture near the stores, you’re not having to lug all your big purchases around with you.
- Visit the shops early or late
The early bird catches the worm and also the best parking spaces, which later in the day become harder to find than hens’ teeth. Equally, late night shopping can also have its benefits, especially if you target the times when families with children will be having tea and heading to bed.
- Use social media to contact companies
I don’t know about you but I probably spend the same amount of time on the phone chasing companies for information as I do waiting for my purchases to arrive. Well, no more. I’ve found that it’s much quicker to DM companies than it is to sit endlessly on hold on the telephone. Always worth a shot. Most larger companies have UK support accounts where you can DM them directly without having to follow them and vice versa
- Use the click and collect services
Instead of having to wait in for deliveries, there’s often an option to click and collect purchases. This means you can collect them at your leisure and convenience with minimum stress and hassle. There is nothing more irritating than arriving home to a ‘sorry we missed you’ card when you were instead hoping to be excitedly opening packages.
- Have a back up plan for when it all does not quite work out.
At the end of the day, it is just one day and what is not done by that day, is just not going to be done. It’s much easier to accept than fight this. If things do not go to plan, then it’s time to reach for the mulled wine, pull up a chair, think about all the things that you have managed to achieve and reward yourself accordingly.
If you have any other top tips, then please let me know in the comments!
Merry stress free Christmas everyone! x