Christmas is a billion dollar holiday in the United States. People save throughout the year to to make sure they are able to purchase the gifts that their family members have requested. This is especially true for adults who have children. Children are conditioned through the media and their peers to look forward to Christmas because it is a time to receive the things they desire the most. Many of them start writing their list in the summer to make sure that they do not miss anything that they could possibly want to see under the tree. For parents who may not be in the best financial position, these lists can create a new added sense of stress and pressure for fear of disappointing their children by not being able to purchase the gifts they desire.

Many therapists note the holidays as an increased time for anxiety and depression for a number of reasons. However, it is important to highlight parents often experience both anxiety and depression when they do not have the financial means to provide the gifts their kids may desire. While many do their best to compensate for the lack, many simply can not overcome the hurdle of financial difficulty in time to provide the Christmas gifts they want.

How can we improve this epidemic? The following tips can help parents work to overcome the feelings of anxiety and depression during this holiday season.

  1. Start early by setting realistic gift boundaries for your children that are within your budget.
  2. Create a Christmas savings plan that can help eliminate the stress of trying to come up with the finances you do not have.
  3. Focus on creating memories that matter as opposed to focusing on gifts.
  4. Sign up for a community service project that emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas which is love for family and your community.
  5. Consider taking a family vacation as opposed to buying gifts. This is a great way to focus on building holiday memories that will last a lifetime.

Buying gifts should never be the focus of the holidays. The goal should always be to create memories that your child can take with them for the rest of their life. The most important thing to provide for your child is food, clothing, shelter, and love. Do not let another Christmas pass with the burden of what you are unable to materially provide for your child weigh you down. Let this be the Christmas that you steal back your happiness, peace, and joy!

By: Colette Brooks of Thriveworks Counseling and Coaching in Fredericksburg, VA.