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The heavy price of holiday magic!

By Nancy Nzalambi | December 20th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Holiday guests at Travellers Beach Hotel dance the night away on Christmas eve. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

Even though the festive season should ideally be enjoyable, some of us cannot help but feel anxious and stressed out. Somehow someone somewhere will not do their part and you find yourself covering for them. You find yourself dealing with quite too much and you are being pushed to the limit. It can get mentally exhausting if you cannot find ways to make the festive season satisfactorily tranquil.

Stress triggers during this season

Financial challenges

The holidays are associated with heavy spending. There is that pressure to spend money. From travelling, shopping to gifts for our loved ones; the after-effects make the season long and tough.

How to counter this: Take charge of your finances during this season. Make a budget and stick to it.

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Perfect memories

We all want amazing memories for the season. We want everyone in our families to be happy, enjoy their time, food, et cetera. After making sure all that is catered for, you will definitely end up exhausted. If you are familiar with this cycle year in year out, you have an idea of what is coming for you.

How to counter this: Make it more about spending quality time with your loved ones. Do stuff together to bond.

Too many invitations

I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has cut down the number of people attending social events. However, it has not cut down the fundraising for the same. You would think that with a few people to invite, events will definitely scale down the funds required. This has clearly not been the case. Weddings, harambees, name it. They seem to be lined up one weekend after the other.

How to counter this: Learn to say no especially on matters that bring unnecessary burdens. The festivities are overwhelming; this is the right time to set boundaries.

Escalating family drama

Some of us may travel to our rural homes this season. It is common for parents to worry if their children will behave or how they will blend with extended family and all. Then there are those insatiable relatives who have high cash expectations from “guys from the city”. We cannot forget the arguments about politics. This is also the time when families hold meetings to “sort out” issues. The pressure alone can stress you out.

How to counter this: Be more open-minded and accommodative. Agree to disagree on issues and avoid arguments that can ruin the holiday mood.


Being on top of everything can affect your well-being. You may suffer from burn-out from the festivities. Additionally, indulging in an unhealthy diet and disrupting your physical exercise activity will cause dramatic effects by the time the holiday is over.

How to counter this: Create time for yourself. Exercise, sleep better, take a long bath, read a novel, watch a movie; do something you enjoy.

Holiday spending can affect how you enjoy the merriment of the season.

Do not go broke during the holidays

Most people have voluntarily shared their sentiments about how bad their financial situation has been this year. The bad economy has left negative figures in our bank accounts. We want to enjoy the festive season but the cost of everything around and the early school calendar makes some of our desires quite unachievable.

Do not be ashamed of being frugal

One thing that I have learnt during this era of COVID-19 is that people can live with the bare minimum. We all love getting the best, but you can still get the best when your financial situation brightens. Accidental spending makes us spend more than we can actually afford. Maximise travel deals by booking early and look out for discount codes. Carry your shopping list and go for more friendly priced substitutes if you have to. Minimise nonessential spending. Ditch the “nice to haves” and focus only on the “must haves.” Take advantage of the holidays shopping offers on shopping platforms and supermarkets.  If things are thick, do not judge yourself harshly for being frugal. You are not alone.

DIY the Christmas decorations

YouTube, Pinterest are flooding with DIY videos for numerous inexpensive home items. Explore these homemade options to see what you can do for yourself. After all, homemade items attach more meaning when used for the home or when given as gifts to loved ones. They have a lasting impression. Channel your creativity to set the holiday mood and ensure a debt-free December. Reuse gift raps.

Use actual cash; ditch the credit card for now…

Holiday spending can affect how you enjoy the merriment of the season. If you want to stay within your budget, track your spending by using hard cash. Withdraw only what you need and spend it wisely. Once you deplete it, you can call it a day. This way, you will resist the temptation to fetch hard cash again to purchase nonessentials.

Automate your savings

Open a holidays/traveling savings account and contribute a percentage from your income every month. Use money only from this account to cover your holiday expenditure. The shopping momentum effect –the natural high people get when buying new stuff—will be less pronounced. The holidays will no longer eat into your personal savings and you will not have to panic about how long January may feel.

Holidays Holiday Season
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