The holiday season is rolling around, and so is the time when you start thinking about buying gifts for your friends and family.
Although gift giving is supposed to be a joyful experience, it turns out to be a source of stress for some. Gift shopping takes time and money, and these days, many people are short on both.
Add holiday baking, party planning and cleaning to the to-do list, and it’s no wonder that 38 percent of people say their stress levels rise over the holidays. Fortunately, there are ways to ease your anxiety when it comes to shopping for gifts.
Take advantage of the following tips.
The best way to plan for the holidays is to start early.
Beginning in January, put a little money aside each month for next year’s gifts. Or consider buying gifts throughout the year and tucking them away to spread the costs out. Plus, you can find lots of budget-friendly gifts during sales throughout the year. And buying gifts early means you’ll need to spend less time shopping during the actual holiday season when there are many other things going on.
Suggest a gift exchange
If you’re spending the holidays with a large group of people, consider doing a gift exchange. That way everyone doesn’t need to buy a present for every single person. Gift ideas can even be tailored to include items that cost $10 or less. This takes an additional load off everyone’s holiday budget.
Just jot down the names of all participants on small pieces of paper and place them in a bowl, paper bag or hat. Each person draws one name and keeps it a secret. The person you draw is the recipient of your gift. When it’s time to open gifts, everyone gets to guess the identity of each gift giver.
Realize that it’s truly the “thought that counts”
Part of gift giving anxiety stems from your feelings about your loved ones. You want to buy gifts for friends and family that they truly cherish.
However, you may be putting too much pressure on yourself. Remember, it’s not the price of the gift that matters. Most people appreciate any gift that shows how much you care, from a tin of holiday candy to a handwritten card.
Here are several more ideas for easy and inexpensive homemade gifts:
- A framed family photo
- A homemade gift card for babysitting, snow shoveling or other services
- A loaf of fresh-baked bread
- A tin of holiday snack mix
- Holiday cookies on a tray
- Homemade jams, jellies or syrups
Have a no-gift holiday gathering
Holiday parties don’t have to involve presents. There are loads of other fun ways to celebrate getting together with friends and family.
Consider these ideas for what to do instead of Christmas gifts:
- Ask dinner party guests to bring non-perishable food items for your local food bank instead of gifts.
- Divide the family into teams for a holiday scavenger hunt with one big prize for the winning team.
- Have a holiday cookie swap in place of a gift exchange.
- Have a progressive holiday dinner party with friends in your neighborhood.
- Host an ice cream party with loads of toppings for kids and kids at heart.
- Celebrate together in your community – holiday festivals or skating rinks are a great place to start.
Hopefully, these tips will help bring down your stress levels for a happier, healthier holiday season!
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