Tips to help you reduce expenses and stress this holiday season


If the country’s current economic crisis is stressing you out and putting a damper on your holiday spirit, you are not alone.

“With the stock market plummeting and foreclosures and layoffs skyrocketing, many Americans are feeling depressed, anxious, and more stressed than usual about the upcoming holidays,” says Lauren Solotar, Ph.D., May Institute’s Chief Psychologist. “You can still enjoy the holidays without creating additional financial and emotional stress. This may be a time to create new holiday traditions.”

To reduce your stress, plan to cut back on both your spending and your activities, she advises. “People get stressed during the holidays because they spend too much and add additional activities to an already full schedule,” Solotar says. She offers the following tips to help you reduce your expenses and your stress:

  • You do not have to say “yes” to all invitations and requests.
  • Instead of purchasing gifts or items to bring to a party, bring something homemade.
  • Consider a Yankee swap with family members or drawing names and exchanging just one gift per person.
  • When shopping online, visit the store’s website first and see if you can find a coupon code to help you help save money.
  • Get enough sleep. Now is not the time to burn your candle at both ends!
  • Exchange “gift certificates” for personal services such as babysitting, special meals, rides to the airport, or guided day trips at some future date.
  • Take a personal day to pamper yourself, sleep in, organize, bake, get a massage, or watch your favorite holiday movie.
  • Instead of mailing out cards in December, send an e-card.
  • Take time to plan your holiday activities and spending and try to stay within your budget.
  • Track all of your purchases so you know how much you are spending.
  • Talk to your children about changes this holiday season and focus on spending special time together rather than on the presents.
  • If you become seriously depressed during the holiday season, seek professional help.

May Institute’s counseling centers in Walpole and West Roxbury offer caring and effective emotional and psychological services for children, adolescents, and adults. Highly trained professionals provide specialized clinical care for key emotional and behavioral concerns including anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, women’s issues, and school and learning difficulties. For more information call 800-778-7601, or visit

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