How to cope with the ‘Christmas creep’ . . .

As you know I’m a sucker for the months of September, October and November! Harvest/Pumpkin Spice/Spooky vibes, weather cooling down, wardrobe changes, hot tea and warming foods. I really try to treasure this gorgeous time of burnt orange coziness.

Alas, we’re all familiar with the dreaded ‘Christmas creep’, a ploy by retailers to start the festive season as early as possible in a bid to plump profits. In previous years there have been complaints about Christmas eclipsing Halloween. I love the Christmas season just as much, but in a different way, as there is always an underlying wistfulness during Christmas that I don’t experience in the Fall.

The holidays can be stressful, and having them start in October can add to that, particularly if inflation is affecting you.

Experts say it’s understandable if the Christmas creep has you feeling more like the Grinch than Betty Lou Who, but the following tips can help you navigate those negative feelings and stress.

Practice self-awareness

You don’t have to be holly and jolly in October, nor do you need to partake in “Days of Deals” just because they exist. You can decide when the holiday season starts for you, whether that’s today or Dec. 24.

Regardless of which camp you’re in, take a breath before reacting when an email about a holiday sale in October hits your inbox, or you see holiday decorations taking over a store weeks before Halloween.

Know yourself and notice when the desire is coming from within you, intrinsic motivation, versus what you are told you should feel or do by others, or extrinsic motivation, to gauge what traditions and practice may resonate best for you.

Make a list and check it twice

Whether you’re into the deals or not, it may be tempting to partake in them. There’s also a chance it could help you save money and check some items off your list. Having a LIST can help prevent buyer’s remorse, which may only add to your Scrooge-y feelings.

While crafting the list, ask yourself:

  • Do you need to buy everyone on this list something?

  • Can you make gifts this year, such as baking or crafting?

  • Can you suggest a secret Santa-type exchange with a group, so you only have to get one gift versus gifts for everyone?

Doing this is a good idea because it asks you to be very intentional and thoughtful about who you spend your money on — where can you trim the fat, and where can you put the focus on what is most important.

Create a budget and stick to it

Your budget will likely affect your list, or at least what you buy for everyone on it. Budgeting by categories, such as gifts for family, decor, and food will ease anxiety that’s stemming from feeling out of control.