Check out these four tricks used to get you to spend more (without you knowing it).
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Who’s the best?
If you’re not careful, Christmas can turn into a competition rather than a celebration. Whose decorations are the nicest? Whose gifts are the most impressive? Whose casserole is the yummiest?
But when you compare your holiday celebration with someone else’s, you rob yourself of the simple joys of the season. It’s time to stop comparing and start celebrating again.
Here are four competitive pitfalls to avoid this Christmas.
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1. Best House on the Block
Many of us love decorating our homes for the holidays. The trouble comes when we try to one-up the Griswolds next door. And we spend way too much money in the process.
There’s no need to compete with your mom, your grandma or the neighbors across the street. If you already have some decorations in the attic, great—put them up. But don’t spend a fortune on a new Christmas theme you’re just going to take down in a month. That’s silly.
If you really want to buy something new, be sure it fits in the budget. Oh, and make sure you’re doing it for you—not to impress or outdo anyone else.
2. Best Pile of Presents
You love your kids to pieces. But you’re not their personal Saint Nick. And you’re certainly not responsible for making all their high-priced holiday dreams come true.
This can be especially tough if you’re part of a divorced or blended family, where competition runs rampant. So don’t try to win your kids’ favor with a big pile of presents. Instead, help them set realistic gift expectations. If all they want is a scooter, then kindly explain that’s all they’ll get—and no more.
And if your ex-spouse or your in-laws want to compete for their affections, that’s not your concern. Your concern is how your kids respond to these blessings. Teach them gratitude, and they’ll learn contentment.
3. Best Family Member
There’s a reason many families live far away from each other: They’d kill each other if they lived any closer. Even so, we all want to get along during the holidays. But then human nature takes over, and we end up competing and arguing instead.
Who makes the most food? Who brings the best gifts? The list goes on and on. Forget the competitions and focus on the family this Christmas. After all, these are the people you love most in the world (even if you don’t always get along).
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Rather than letting rivalries fester, back off and let someone else have all the glory. That means don’t sigh under your breath or gossip the whole drive home. Politely offer to help where you can, be flexible, and refuse to compare your intentions with anyone else’s.
4. Best Christmas Ever
Attending every Christmas festival, crafts fair, movie opening and skate night can get pricey—not to mention exhausting!
Plus, while you’re busy competing with society for the “best Christmas ever,” you may be missing out on some great holiday traditions, like board games with the kids or a family talent show. Doesn’t that sound way better than splitting your pants at the ice rink?
Having fun shouldn’t be an Olympic sport. Use your imagination and your budget to guide your Christmas entertainment. No amount of paid-for fun can beat quality time with your brood.
Forget the cultural pressure to “do Christmas” this season and remember to enjoy the little things in life. When you stop trying to be the best and buy the best, you can just relax and be yourself.
Merry peaceful Christmas!
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