During the festive season, it doesn’t matter whether you give lots of expensive gifts or little, hand-made gifts or intangible things. What matters is the meaningful happiness created by appreciating and celebrating your family, friends, and community. In truth, this is something we should do every day of the year and not just at Christmas.
How to be happier this Christmas:
- give money to a charity it may increase your happiness more than spending money on yourself
- buy experiences rather than things, the happiness that comes from spending money on experiences lasts longer
- take a walk outside in a park or forest, it will help you relax and focus, a brisk walk may increase your happiness more than you anticipate
- watching a movie you know well means the cognitive demands are quite and this contributes to well-being, a 10Eighty holiday favourite is “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Being able to purchase the finest things in life, luxuries if you like, may decrease the ability to enjoy the little things in life like a starry night or a loving kiss. Research shows that people who spend their money on material possessions are far less happy with their purchase than people who spend their money on experiential purchases.
People who emphasise family and religious experiences during the Christmas holiday are happier than people who emphasise buying and receiving material gifts (Kasser & Sheldon, 2002). That’s because they focus on emotional connections and meaningful interactions.
One of the reasons that buying experiences is good is that spending one’s cash on experiences will bring you happiness when those experiences are shared with others. Sharing creates happy memories and a bonding experience.