Christmas is not considered by everyone as the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, a Consumer Report survey indicates that, sadly, many Americans don’t look forward to the holiday.

Christmas is not considered by everyone as the most wonderful time of the year.


In fact, a Consumer Report survey indicates that, sadly, many Americans don’t look forward to the holiday.


Much of the dislike has to do with shopping. Standing in lines and dealing with crowds was the top complaint registered by 68 percent of the survey participants.


Third on the list, which corresponds with shopping, is going into debt. People have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to making purchases. By overboard, I mean overdrawn. They spend more money than they have, or will have in the next six months, all in an effort to achieve the picture-perfect holiday.


Maybe this year, to alleviate some of that frustration, it would be wise to incorporate spending limits or challenge everyone exchanging gifts with the directive to only give non-monetary or homemade presents. Depending on the age of your kids, discuss shopping for gifts after Christmas as another option to save money.


Try something different for just one year. I’m not against gifts, but sometimes people try to buy love through buying gifts. Consider your motivation when you make a Christmas gift purchase. Is the gift truly born out of love, or are you trying to impress someone?


Everyone could probably agree that the commercialization of Christmas has gotten out of hand. It’s crazy how much emphasis we put on stuff. It’s hard not to, though, with all the advertising catalogs and online specials. Think about the times you don’t really need anything, but you flip through the Sunday flyers and, all of a sudden, you don’t know how you’ve lived without a Chia Pet all these years. This year, avoid reading flyers and clicking on Web specials that flash before your eyes.


Coming on the heels of the disdain for shopping is gaining weight. It does feel like pounds seem to add on quickly during November and December by just looking at the pumpkin pie on the counter, the cookies lying so attractively on the platter or the stuffing that calls your name. What I try to do to curb my appetite is make sure I eat a healthy snack or drink a big glass of water before going to a party where I know fattening foods will be offered. Plan ahead, and don’t go to these functions starving.


Along with the dread of shopping and gaining weight is the anxiety of being with family. The survey reported that 24 percent of participants were not looking forward to dealing with certain relatives. There are situations when hurts run deep in a family and cause tension.


If there is a bone to pick with Aunt Ann or sister Sue, maybe you should attempt to resolve the problem prior to the big day. Just like me, there are probably people in your family that cause you to default to the negative the minute you see them. This year, give that relative the gift of encouragement. Set aside the rolling eyes, sarcastic under-the-breath comments and frustrations for one day and, instead, spend your energy thinking of ways to lift them up.


The spirit of Christmas should be to focus on hope, peace, joy and love, which don’t come from half-off sales, irritating relatives or fattening desserts.


I can’t promise you that by planning ahead you’ll have a “holly jolly” Christmas, but try making a conscientious effort to change a few things. That way, instead of dreading it, you’ll have a better chance of having yourself a merry little Christmas.


Dan Seaborn is a non-denominational Christian evangelist and a published author of such books as "The Necessary Nine: How to Stay Happily Married for Life!" He is the founder of Winning at Home Inc., a ministry that focuses its attention on the relationships between a husband and wife and between parents and their children.