Do you experience holiday shopping stress when you go into the store and see decorations and it’s still summer? It’s called the Christmas Creep! And it explains why I feel stressed in stores the past few weeks. I feel inundated with Christmas paraphernalia, and we haven’t even gotten past Halloween or Thanksgiving! I’m nowhere near holly and jolly right now, I’m still wearing tanks and shorts!
This is a phenomenon that is recognized by the Merriam-Webster DICTIONARY!
Even if you’ve never heard the term before today, you can surmise what it means! It is defined by Merriam-Webster as the “gradual lengthening of the Christmas season, with ever earlier displays of lights, wreaths, and decorated trees, insistent advertisements of holiday sales for consumerist profiteering, and the familiar sound of songs that everybody knows but which should never be heard in public places during the month of October.”
There used to be some separation in the old days, do you remember that? And Halloween was often the turning point in the year, but now there are shameful displays that began last summer! I remember back in August walking into a store and all the holiday items were out!
I’m not the only one that’s irritated by this! It’s called “The Christmas Creep” and it’s intended to get you to spend more money, and much, much sooner!
I feel like Lucy working the conveyor belt of chocolates! She’s so overwhelmed she’s stuffing them in her bra, her hat, and her mouth! The VIDEO is here if you haven’t seen it.
There’s just no breather between the holidays anymore!
While companies are trying to better their bottom line, our stress as a population is rising. The current economy has created challenges for many people, and I suspect there’s just less money to spend on decorative pillows and light-up lawn decorations.
Many people feel more mental stress as a result of these early holiday promotions.
Here are a few reasons for holiday shopping stress:
1. Feeling guilty for having to pinch pennies now with inflation
2. Feeling sad for not being able to afford the pricey items as in the past
3. Maybe you’re disappointed in yourself and feeling like Scrooge simply because you just don’t have the holiday spirit yet
4. Experiencing anxiety due to feeling rushed, pressured, or annoyed
5. Desensitizing yourself to the true meaning of the holidays because it’s just so commercial
Holiday shopping in late summer, or even early fall for Christmas decorations may create unnecessary mental chatter and anxiety for some people. The prices are higher than last year, the lines are longer, and too much stuff!
There are studies that show the number one stressor of the year is the holidays and all things associated with them like traveling, feeling lonely, spending money you don’t have, and/or going to events you don’t really want to.
While companies will improve their bottom line, our stress as a population will rise. Inflation has created challenges for many, and there’s less money to spend overall. People are more focused on food, gas and medications/supplements. They’re more focused on important items like household items and things related to their children/family.
The Christmas Creep is a real thing, and here’s what I think you can do to cope with it:
1. During holiday shopping, avoid stores that cause anxiety for you.
Stay out of stores unless necessary, and send a friend, or relative so you limit exposure. Choose boutique stores, or shop online. Go to stores that respect the time frame of holidays.
2. Practice introspection.
Avoid impulse buying. Make a list of people who you plan to give gifts to. Don’t make a purchase until you feel comfortable doing so.
Purchase things that people need right now, such as gift cards to their favorite shop, clothing store, grocery store, or even pharmacy. Buy them health items/gadgets or a warm blanket or shoes if that’s what they need. No one needs a new CD or picture frame.
If your budget is limited, bake something or make a homemade craft. People who care for you don’t even need a gift, they just need to know you love them.
3. Stick to a budget.
Do you even have a budget? If you don’t this could make you feel unsettled. Remember, anxiety sets in when you feel out of control, and if you don’t set a price limit for the holidays, you’ll wind up in trouble come January when your credit card bill arrives.
The days of deals are irrelevant if you don’t have the cash to pay for them. Remember, the point of The Christmas Creep is for them to get your money now and they don’t care what happens to you later.
If you are interested in an article about anxiety, I’ve written this one: Natural Treatment Options for Occasional Anxiety.
4. Find out return policies for stores that you frequent.
What if you buy that light-up deer, and when you go to set it up in 2 months, you find that it’s cheap and flimsy, or it doesn’t even light up?
Can you take it back after 30 or 60 days?
Did you know that some popular stores nowadays will only issue a store credit?
There’s no more refund to your card? If you lose your receipt, don’t expect them to find the purchase on your credit card anymore. To me, this feels bad, like once they get your money, you’re cooked!
On Amazon, you can’t even return some things anymore, they just have no more refund policy, even if the item is broken or defective! It’s super stressful to me when stores cheat consumers! As you know, I run my own dietary supplement business. I am proud to offer world-class customer service, and we are all mindful, and eager to please. Check what the policies are, especially for big-ticket items, and shop at stores and e-tailers that are trustworthy.
5. Stay focused and set a time boundary.
If you have to go into a store, and find yourself irritated, set a time boundary. For example, set a 7-minute timer on your phone or watch. Work towards hitting your goal and getting out in 7 minutes or less. I do this all the time because my time is precious and I don’t want to waste it perusing aisles of stuff that will likely wind up in a landfill one day anyway!
Do not browse the holiday aisles right now, unless you want to. Do not put yourself into a tailspin when we are so many weeks away from holiday shopping. Pretend you don’t even see this stuff, walk in a straight line and stay focused like a horse out the gate!
6. Find a zen moment before shopping.
What’s wrong with a cup of warm green tea, or a sniff of lavender? What about 2 capsules of MAGNESIUM before the trip? These items are calming, they provide a little bit of instant chill. They work for most people. Have something relaxing before you go into malls or crowded stores. It might be better for you than a double-shot espresso which cranks you up and creates agitation.
7. Weird, but true, you should limit social media.
Online platforms will advertise holiday items to you, and they pay to get on your feeds and follow you around the Internet. It’s terrible, you feel like you’re being stalked by retailers just because you googled one thing, like for example, “pilates ball.” You will soon see 2 dozen ads for various balls and sports equipment! But that’s not all.
Anxiety is sometimes produced when you feel like you can’t buy your spouse a trip to Paris to celebrate Christmas this year (just like one of your Facebook friends did, and posted), and so feelings of inferiority, envy, and anxiety rise up. Just get off social media if you find it annoys you, this is entirely in your control.
I don’t know why young kids today live their life for others, in front of a device all day but they do! Let me digress…there are few things worse for our younger generation than comparing themselves to what their peers are doing. It generates constant mental mulling, anxiety, and feelings of inferiority. They forget that influencers and even friends are posting the very best part of their day, often with a photo filter.
It’s a fake reflection of reality. Few people want to post the bad stuff, right?
They wait until they’re doing something freaking amazing, and post that, even though the day before they were a heap of tears, or sick like a dog! Just saying what you see on social media, especially around the holidays is going to make you feel like you’re not good enough. But you ARE. Also, you may see something that makes you sad, or unfair and then you will waste precious time and energy thinking about it. Try to limit the amount of time on social media because it provokes more anxiety, depression, or feelings of guilt. Definitely don’t go online right before holiday shopping.
In summary, kick off the holiday season when YOU want to and don’t feel pressured by all the nonsense you see right now. Use coping strategies to help yourself, and become self-aware of how certain stores make you feel. Spend your dollar wisely, and with companies that don’t try to disrespect you like this. Do the holidays on your time frame!
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.