1. Celebrate with … an eye on your credit card: We spend on credit cards differently to the way we spend cash, if a large body of research is to be believed. The theory is that the physical pain we feel parting with physical cash is diminished when we swipe a credit card now and pay the bill later. With emotions (and temptation to spend) high during the festive season, it might pay to keep a closer eye on credit cards – or consider a cash only diet to keep tight control on money.
2. Celebrate with… homemade gifts: You’ve made a batch of Christmas pies, handmade cards or a toy for a child. This do-it-yourself way of making gifts can be particularly satisfying. The so-called IKEA effect explained by author and behavioural economist Dan Ariely tells how we value things we make ourselves more – and the recipient of the creations might as well.
3. Celebrate with … family and friends: Spending time with friends and family has been found to make us happy, with academic Nattavudh Powdthavee researching and putting a price on it. He estimated that, for the average English person, seeing friends or family on most days rather than once or twice a week increases happiness by the same amount as a pay rise of £15,000 (€17,500) a year. Taking it one step further, time with loved ones could well add a happy boost to the festive season.
4. Celebrate with … doing something: A ticket to a concert or a holiday away could be a good way to celebrate the festive season. Many happiness economists argue that experiences (such as going to a show or on vacation) make people happier than objects (such getting as a new dinner set or coat). One example is the research paper Does consumption buy happiness? from the United States, which says part of the joy is – again – spending time with others.
If you like these tips, take a look at our first four tips and final four tips for the festive season.