Christmas is that one time of year, where you can take a good break from work, reflect on the year that was and catch up with your loved ones. While it’s a great time to come together as a family, for some it can also be a stressful time of year. In fact, according to a survey by Relationships Australia, it’s actually considered as one of the six most stressful life events, along with divorce, moving house and changing jobs.
So how can you ensure the silly season is exactly what it’s meant to be; a fun time to be merry and spend quality time with your family?
Here are four ideas for spending quality time-together, hopefully minus the stress!
Idea 1: Organise a Secret Santa
According to the same research, one third of people found their family relationships were “highly negatively affected” due to financial worries at Christmas. Organising a Secret Santa is a good way to reduce the financial stress of Christmas and it can also be a really fun activity to do together.
All you need to do is, in the weeks running up to Christmas, write the names of everyone on separate bits of paper, put them in a hat and get each person to draw a name. Each person has to buy a fun present for the person they picked, and everyone has to stick to a price limit. You’ll have fun as a family guessing who your Secret Santa is and also save on the cost of buying multiple gifts. It’s a win, win situation!
Idea 2: Swap gifts for experiences
You could even take this a step further, by having no gifts whatsoever and instead use the money you might have spent on family experiences. So instead of that plastic toy for your niece, organise a trip to the zoo and for dad swap those socks and take in a sports match.
There’s an endless list of sport, music, art, thrill-seeking and sight-seeing things to do over the Christmas season and these experiences will be far more memorable and cherished in years to come.
Idea 3: Introduce a “phones off” policy
A little device called a mobile phone can often come in the way of quality family time. Another study, by Dr Jenny S. Radesky of the Boston Medical Center looked at parent-child interactions at fast food restaurants and found more than 70 percent of adults used their phones during a meal.
By introducing a “phones off” policy over the Christmas period, or at least over Christmas Day, you and your family are sure to find yourself more present in the moment. Instead of playing on your phone’s apps, play some old, or new, board games that involve the whole family. Classics like Monopoly or Cluedo are fun competitive games whilst other games like Scattegories or Trivial Pursuit can bring the family together in teams to test each other’s knowledge.
Idea 4: Enjoy the great outdoors
If you really want some quality time together this Christmas, getting into the great outdoors is a good way to do just that. Whether it’s a day hike in your local national park, or packing the car for a week long camping trip, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you’ll truly be able to reconnect. The best part is, the great outdoors doesn’t charge admission. As a family you can try fishing or kayaking or go on a hunt for rare birds and animals.
Whatever you do this Christmas 2017, we hope it’s your best festive season yet!