The Real Cost of Christmas

by Heather Bestel

When my daughter Zoë was six, we went to visit Santa in Delamere Forest (a special annual family festive outing) when we lived back in Cheshire, England. We queued up for about half an hour and took our time enjoying the wonderful winter wonderland they had painstakingly built. As we got to the front of the line, we could hear some of the other children talking to Santa and asking for their gifts.

Pretty girl near the Cristmas treeWhen it was finally Zoë’s turn, she sat on his knee and nodded enthusiastically when he asked her if she’d been a good girl. Then he asked her what she would like for Christmas. With a huge grin she said:

“I would like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange please!”

She didn’t want the latest ‘must have’ toy, she didn’t want some big shiny gadget or an over the top expensive gift. She just wanted a little something that makes an ordinary day feel a little bit special, a tiny treat to remind her that she is loved and remembered.

Santa and all the elves and I had a huge lump in our throats and tears in our eyes. Santa gave her a big smile and told her what a very special little girl she was and that he was sure to bring her a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and maybe some other special gifts too. She was overjoyed. He made a little girl very happy and a little girl made us all very grateful for what we already have.

Having created the Stress Free Christmas plan for saving time, stress and money over ten years ago, I’ve been spreading the message ever since, and asking people to think about how much they really need to spend.

I invite you to take a moment to be mindful of the amount of money you spend on the festive season and to ask yourself if it is really necessary. mom-stressed-shopper-site

  • Do we need to spend an incredible amount of money to actually enjoy it?
  • What would make it really special that doesn’t cost anything?
  • Do we need to buy so many toys that won’t actually be played with?
  • Is there one thing that the children really want that won’t break the bank?

Ten years later and Zoë still knows exactly what she wants this Christmas. Her list consists of:

  • the little family traditions that we’ve cherished over the years
  • the wonderful games that come out at Christmas
  • the special food we always enjoy
  • the wonderful films we always watch
  • the friends that come to visit
  • the wonder and the excitement

Each year I’m reminded that she is growing into a young woman and won’t always be with us at Christmastime and so I cherish our special time together even more.

I’m convinced that spending huge amounts of money is not going to make Christmas more special. In fact, it could leave you feeling very stressful.

As we look forward to this coming year, let’s all take a leaf out of Zoë’s book and focus on the magic and the togetherness, and make it a Christmas to really remember. Just think how wonderful it will be, knowing you really did have a Christmas to be proud of AND your bank balance has survived.


Magical Meditations for Kids
Mumpreneur Heather Bestel is the creator of Magical Meditations 4 Kids, stories that empower, calm and entertain, available on CD or as an mp3 download for immediate access.


heather-bestel Heather Bestel is a therapist, coach and author. She helps busy women ditch their stress and guilt in order to start putting themselves first. Her tools and resources have been helping thousands of women over the past twenty years to get a handle on the chaos of life and put a happy spring in their step. She blogs at HeatherBestel.com and is the founder of The Happiness Garden Online Virtual Retreat. She lives a simple downshifting life in Scotland UK, with her husband and daughter surrounded by uplifting and inspiring countryside.


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