BEWARE OF CHRISTMAS – 5 dangers of this festive season and how to avoid them

What you’ll read here is not intended to kill your buzz. And no, I’m not on the Grinch’s payroll.

Christmas is known to be full of joy, bliss and merry-making. Yet, the holidays are full of situations that if not carefully manoeuvred, can create uncomfortable first steps into a new year. Here are 5 common holiday mousetraps that so many people all too often fall into.

  1. Debt and Overspending

That urge to treat yourself and your loved ones during this time of the year is because advertisers become ruthless in making you feel like you need that gift or that experience now than ever. Everything suddenly seems affordable. Somehow you still spend way more than you actually would have. It’s these advertisers! Everything is shiny and glistening and before long, you’d want to be as happy as that man or woman in that advert when you have survived perfectly well for over 11 months without whatever they’re selling.

Aside that, pressure starts mounting for you to send presents. Everybody wants an “xmas gift”. The crazy part is, somehow, inside of you, you feel obligated. It’s bonkers! For those that have little to no control, the result is you spend more than intended, and end up with the newest ugly gift for yourself going into the new year called debt.

  1. Alcohol Abuse

Another great win for advertisers is how, over a long time, alcohol consumption has been made to look synonymous to having a great time. Have you ever seen a bunch of drunk people? It’s not as glorious as in the ads, at all. Yet somehow, our minds have been made to believe that alcohol equals fun. And who doesn’t want a lot of fun. Ergo, if you want more fun, then you’d need to get yourself some more alcohol, right?


This Christmas, fun will be on the minds of almost everyone. Right alongside that will be a lot of alcohol abuse. There will be a lot of newly minted alcohol abusers while those with a slight addiction will make it worse for themselves.

How bad is alcohol abuse? High blood pressure, Acute kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, liver inflammation and something called “alcoholic hepatitis”, and many more.

  1. Accidents

This point writes itself especially after reading the alcohol bit. Mishaps during festive seasons are many, whether at parties, on the road, or even when you’re minding your own business. At this time of year, almost everyone is always in a hurry at the expense of public safety. There has been a 6.07% and 2.25% increase in the occurrence of road crashes and injuries respectively between January and September. A lot of lives are lost as a result of road accidents during Christmas because of the increase in motor activities and of course the carelessness that often accompany the mayhem.

Criminals are also aware of the lapse in judgements during festive seasons and take full advantage.

  1. Holiday Depression

Depression is very rampant this time of year. WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook will be flooded with pictures and videos of a life that people do not have on the regular, and you see them doing things that they’re probably not doing after they posted. Amidst all these jingle bells, it is as hard to hear cries for help as it is to cry out for help. Some people are already stressed out from the constant playback of the year’s events and the extra set of rapidly consecutive Christmas activities can have a strenuous effect.

  1. Bad eating habits
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Yes, that too can be a problem. There will be so much food around that mindless eating will get you consuming more than you realise. Endless snacking gets you hooked on high-calorie foods that are full of empty carbs. We tend to eat at odd hours. Emotional eating is also something that frequently occurs. When we’re happy, we eat. When we’re anxious, we eat. Food is all over and the temptation of overeating is not easily beaten.

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From My Thinking Spot

All is not lost. With every problem comes an accompanying solution and these ones aren’t that hard to execute. Here are the 5 remedies to the above-stated dangers that could save you a lot of headache in 2020.

  1. Control your spending

That might be easier said than done but think about it. It might not be possible to totally avoid some extra unbudgeted spending this season. Still, try to get presents for only family and friends and your immediate circle. Those that value you outside this circle will be ok with a Christmas card or a simple bag of well-wishes.

  1. Christmas is no excuse to abuse alcohol

It’s not only those with a drinking problem that will drink too much this Christmas. Be on the lookout for that feeling of “it’s ok to overdo it”. Try to not take in too many bottles too fast. If you’re at a lengthy event, time your intake so your body doesn’t have to handle a lot within a short amount of time. A bottle every couple hours, something like that.

  1. Travel carefully and drive even more carefully

Increase in motor activities is as a result of people travelling before, during and after the Christmas to spend it with their chosen ones. If you’re driving on a long journey, rest in between. Fatigue driving causes accidents. Make sure your car is well serviced. Respect traffic regulations.


 You know the drill.

  1. Chilling is not by force

With all the pressure to be happy this festive season, many people forget that their lives are their own to live it anyhow they please. It is not compulsory to have any plans or have some exciting activities so you look some way to the world. Chilling is not in the constitution. Relieve yourself of that pressure.

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Take some time for yourself. Have some you time to meditate and recoup all the energy lost after the busy last quarter of the year. If you want to interact as little as possible, that is perfectly fine.

  1. Control what you eat

Tasty food feels good. There lies the temptation. Nevertheless, a healthy diet is necessary to a healthy life. So try to also keep healthy foods within your reach so when you have the urge, at least healthy options are easily accessible. That’s the best recourse, really.

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Mantra of the Week

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

— Calvin Coolidge

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In Other News…

Idris Elba and his wife have received honorary citizenship from his father’s homeland, Seirra Leone. The star of the hit movie ‘Hobbs and Shaw’, and his Canadian wife Sabrina Dhowre, both received diplomatic passports last Friday while accepting a call be become “brand ambassadors” for the country.

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone had breakfast with the power couple on Friday, during which he urged Idris and his wife to help “change the narrative of Sierra Leone from a war-torn and Ebola-affected country to a country that is full of investment opportunities and one of best destinations for tourism,” a presidential spokesman said.

Idris Elba, 47, said that receiving this diplomatic passport was “the biggest honour I could get from my country… I’m no stranger to Africa: I’ve been in Africa, I’ve made films in Africa, I’ve championed Africa… but Sierra Leone, it’s a very different feeling because it’s my parent’s home.”

Idris was raised in the United Kingdom. He is also very fond of Ghana since his mother is Ghanaian.

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Hit me up on social media and let’s keep the conversation going! I read all the feedback you send me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Also, feel free to send me your articles on relevant topics for publication on the Macroeconomic Bulletin. I’d give you full credit, an intro, and an outro. Kindly make it about 1000 words.

Have a lovely week!

Maxwell Ampong is the Group CEO of Maxwell Investments Group, a Trading and Business Solutions consortium. He is also the Property Investment Consultant for Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Ghana. He works with a team of motivated professionals, governed by industry experts with experience spanning over a century. He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.

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