Is happiness at Christmas related to how much money you spend? This year I have been very aware of how much things cost and with almost everyone feeling the pinch it's good to know that money and material things only account for 10% of our happiness.
Great I hear you say - I'll tell my kids that Santa said it's the actions you take and the people you spend time with that will make you happier so that's why you don't have the latest gadget, phone, toy etc.
I am a parent too and have spent many years searching for that must have item on the Xmas list, the one thing that my kids really really wanted but seemed to be forgotten about by New Year. I also know now looking back over the years the things I remember most about Xmas are the fun times, the laughs, making decorations, baking cakes, making sweets, our Xmas traditions that we created together. I like to give memories as presents - no I don't have a memory bowl from Harry Potter! I like to give gifts of experiences rather than things. There is a whole range of experience days out there to purchase - spa days, falconry, driving, chocolate making to name a few. Great presents but they can also be expensive so here's my plan for this year - make up your own experience days.
Give your time and energy to share something they enjoy. My list includes - baking cakes then home made afternoon tea, photography day, craft days - candle making, sewing bags and cushions and filling jars with interesting things, shells, sand, buttons, story writing days, book swaps and reading days, music days - creating playlists and making music, film days, outdoor adventures with winter picnics.
I know that the memories created by these experiences will last a lot longer than the immediate burst of joy from a new gadget or toy. I am giving my time, my love, my energy and my imagination to people this year. I won't still be paying for Xmas in July but I can call on the memories of the happy times that are created whenever I need them and so will the recipients of the gifts too.
If you have any special ideas for creating happiness without spending a lot of cash I'd love to hear about them.