The holidays can be a stressful time, especially when there is gift-giving involved. The anxiety builds as you walk from aisle to aisle, trying to find something that the receiver doesn’t already have, is useful, doesn’t require batteries, doesn’t make too much noise, matches their color scheme and the list goes on and on. Before you know it, you’ve spent hours lost in the same aisle deciding on whether to get the white or blue mug. If the only gift gift-giving gives you is a headache, here are some simple tips to make your holidays stress-free.
Minimize Your List: You don’t have to give a gift to the mailman’s dog-walker, so relax. Before the madness of the holidays begins, make a list of those closest to you that you want to shop for and stick to it. Parents, children, and significant others should be on the top of your list, and keeping the list small allows you to focus on getting meaningful gifts and not just stuff that ends up on a shelf or in a drawer.
Plan Your Trip: Before you leave your house, take your list and plan what you are going to buy for each person. This may take some research but it will help keep your sanity as you are bombarded with everything holiday once inside the store. A well-thought-out plan keeps you on track and on budget. Planning in advance may also help you catch great sales that happen throughout the year.
Make It Yourself: Even if you are not the craftiest of people, handmade gifts mean a lot. They can range from a candle to a picture frame or even a batch of cookies but show how much you care. Sticking with homemade or DIY gifts not only saves you money but helps to minimize the impact on the planet.
Shop On-line: If you find yourself easily overwhelmed in the mall, then maybe holiday shopping isn’t for you. That’s okay, the internet is here to help. With your plan in hand, simply log on, search, and buy. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of waiting in lines or even changing out of your pajamas. Many sites offer gift wrapping and will ship directly to the recipient. Shopping online takes many stressors away, allowing you to focus on what is important to you.
Don’t Wait: The clock is ticking and you feel as though the holiday is around the corner, don’t wait to go shopping. The sooner you make your list and check it twice, the sooner you can start making your rounds to the stores to pick up items. If you wait, you run the risk of missing out on either a great deal or the item itself - which could lead to unneeded stress. Keeping an eye and ear out for what people say they need throughout the year can help you figure out a plan and if you happen to see one of those items on an unrelated shopping trip, pick it up and stash it away. When it comes time to start your holiday shopping, you will already have a few items checked off your list.
Remember what the holidays are truly about and try to focus on that instead of the size of the gift you're giving. Deciding as a family to donate to charity instead of giving each other gifts or doing a Secret Santa to limit the amount of gift giving and gift buying are great ideas to minimize the headache but truly focus on friends, family, and love during the holidays.