Peaceful instead of stressful. How to have a balanced Christmas this year?

The key to a good gift and a good giver

Mad rush at work before the holidays, school programs, gift-hunting, endless shopping lists: just some of the reasons why many people find the run-up to Christmas stressful. Yettel’s research shows that, besides being concerned about the economic situation this year, a quarter of Hungarians are stressed out about buying gifts for the holidays. How can we find balance in this busy time of the year and give a gift that truly brings joy, regardless of your financial means? Psychologist Angéla Dienes is now sharing some practical tips to reduce the stress around the holidays and gift-giving. 

The key to a good gift and a good giver

A representative survey by Yettel[1] revealed that three quarters of Hungarians have already received a gift they were not happy about or could not use. At the same time, a quarter of respondents are anxious about Christmas gifts. This is no coincidence, as it’s not an easy task to find the ideal surprise for everyone. Psychologist Angéla Dienes believes people experience a gift as really bad when they feel that the giver has not made any effort to choose it. Your relationship can become strained when you don’t feel it stable enough to say that you don’t like a gift for fear of hurting the giver. There are situations where expressing this creates friction, but the closer you are to someone, the more openly you can talk about this. To avoid tensions later on, it’s worth being honest while also acknowledging the effort the giver put in selecting the gift, says the Angéla Dienes.

But how do to find the ideal gift? According to Angéla Dienes, the most difficult thing is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see what they really need, what is close to their style. Many people go wrong when they buy something that they long for or that reflects their own tastes. In addition to being personal and thoughtful, it’s important that the gift shows attention, because the best way to deepen a relationship is to show that you are listening and know what the other needs.

No gift, no Christmas?

Yettel’s research also shows that a quarter of respondents give gifts just because it’s the custom. But why stick to traditions when they make you tense, and how to talk about not wanting to give a gift or wishing to spend less on the holidays this year?

“The idea of not giving gifts doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. For some people, gifts are not important at all, but for others it’s a way to experience that the other person loves them, so it’s an important expression of love. If you remove this component of their Christmas tradition, it can be very painful and can destroy your relationship”, says Angéla Dienes. A good strategy might be to try and find out how others feel, to talk about what the custom really means to them rather than just to propose that you shouldn’t give gifts this year. It’s natural to be afraid to bring this up, because for many people it’s as much a tradition as a festive meal together.

A shared experience can be a real gift

The poor economic situation and tighter family budgets are clearly reflected in Christmas spending plans this year, according to Yettel’s survey, with four in ten people planning to cut back on spending by either spending less on gifts or on Christmas celebrations as a whole. The research also showed that when it comes to Christmas gifts, most people value a shared experience or personal gesture more than tangible items.

“Thinking over how you can best live your togetherness is important, because that’s why you give gifts after all. It makes sense to try and identify the core values that matter to your family and how this can be reflected in the gift-giving. Try to move away from the idea that a gift is made valuable by the amount of money you spend on it”, says Angéla Dienes. This way, you can even realize that a well thought-out, creative gesture, a shared experience or time spent together can mean the most to you, and even reduce your spending on gifts.

If the family does something together, it can be a special experience and a lasting memory for the children, in addition to the material gifts. Yettel’s festive campaign can also help in this regard, drawing attention to the fact that the most precious gift is often what you give of yourself: shared experiences, time spent together. The operator has created cards that inspire people to give their loved ones the gift of shared experiences. As an alternative to tangible gifts, the cards encourage sharing and collecting experiences with messages such as “Getting lost in a foreign city”, “Show me your hobby” or “Dance until you’re dizzy”. Gift givers can personalise the cards and the experience with a unique message and send them to their loved ones online as a picture or a video at the website or they can collect them in person, free of charge, at any Yettel shop.

[1] The survey was conducted between 28 October and 3 November 2022, on a sample of 1,000 people representative of Hungary’s Internet-using population aged 18-69 by gender, age, type of settlement and region. (Impetus Research)