While the holiday season may be a time of magic, lights, and joy, it can also be a time of high stress and anxiety for many people. One of the worst feelings in the world, it seems, is to be overwhelmed with buying gifts and managing a holiday budget when you are supposed to be enjoying the season and spending time with those you love. With so much to do, buy, and wrap, how do you manage this stress and meet your obligations at the same time? Here are some great tips to get you started.
#1. Get Organized!
While this may seem obvious, one of the most common problems with holiday gifting is a lack of organization. Many people spend too much of their time trying to remember what they need to get when they could be concentrating on actually getting it. Take advice from old Santa Clause himself and make a list…then check it twice! By making a master list of those people you still have to shop for and what gifts you would like to give, you will be much more relaxed knowing what is left.
#2. Plan Ahead!
The sooner you can start with the shopping, the better! While many people wait until mid December to begin their gift buying, this doesn’t allow for as many options. If you give yourself more time and plan ahead, you will not be as stressed about shipments not having time to arrive, stores being out of what you need, or not having adequate time to get everything bought. Planning ahead can also save you money, since you will have more opportunities to check out sales and compare different stores prices before you buy.
#3. Ask for Help!
Another great idea for managing the holiday stress of gift giving is to ask for help! If you know that a friend will be out shopping, ask them to pick up what you need while they are there. Cooperate with co-workers, family members, and your spouse to divide the shopping duties and the cost of gifts. Many families eliminate the gift stresses even further by doing gift exchanges where you buy for one family member instead of for everyone!
#4. Double up!
The greatest advice that I ever received on gift giving was to double up when I could! What does that mean? Don’t be afraid to buy the same gift for more than one person on your list. This especially works great with kids (like nieces, nephews, or grandchildren) and at the office. For example, one year I found a great deal on gourmet coffee gift baskets. I bought five of them that day, then picked up five boxes of chocolates to go with it. When Christmas arrived, I gave three to my staff members, one to my child’s teacher, and kept the last one to give to an aunt at the family gathering. Everyone loved the gift and I took care of several people on my list with just one stop!
#5. Be Creative!
While creativity may seem out of place in an article about managing stress, it really can be a great help! Use your imagination to get out of the box when it comes to gift emergencies! Once, on Christmas Eve, I ran out of wrapping paper when I had several gifts left to finish. I started to panic, but then decided to be creative instead. I grabbed some plain tissue paper to wrap with, and then decorated it with ribbon and leftover pieces of scrap wrapping paper. The finished product was very cute and crafty and everyone loved it the next day!
#6. Enjoy yourself!
While it may seem hard to do at times, don’t stress the small stuff and miss out on enjoying yourself. Take time, even in the busiest of seasons, to rest, relax, and recharge. In my own life, taking a break for a bit was sometimes the very best way to be more productive!