How To Reduce Gift-Giving Stress During the Holidays
By Heather L. Sanders
1. Wrap gifts going to different places in ‘like’ paper.
So your nephew likes Sponge Bob and his sister is a Barbie fan, but let’s be honest, how long will the wrap last on their gifts anyway? Make the holidays easier – select a different color or pattern wrapping paper for each place you’ll go to exchange gifts; one for your side of the family, one for your spouse’s side of the family, and one for office or church parties. Then, when it’s time to pack the car with the right gifts, you don’t have to fret over digging for, and reading, tags – just grab the boxes with the right color or pattern and go!
2. Shop for your parents and grandparents.
You might think it’s offensive to tell Granny you’d love to help her out this year by purchasing your kids’ gifts for her, but really, it’ll knock her argyles right off; she might even let you shop for yourself! Remember, YOU are the woman in the know. Your kids whine tell YOU what they want year round. Besides what they want, you’ve a good idea what they need, right? Who better to ensure that Granny comes off looking like a master shopper and your kid gets that new Nintendo DS game, as opposed to the crocheted My Little Pony saddle she received last year.
3. Follow Santa’s guideline; be methodical.
Make a list and check it twice. Better yet, check it two, three, maybe even fourteen times. Get a small spiral notebook and take it with you everywhere you go from now until after the last thank you note has been sent. On the first page of your notebook write down the name of every person for whom you intend to buy gifts; assign each person to a page, record any price limits, likes/dislikes, sizes, favorite colors, and ideas. Once the gifts are purchased, staple the receipts to their page and move on to the next person.
4. If you haven’t already, start buying holiday gifts RIGHT NOW.
Post-Thanksgiving sales will not save you enough money to equal the number of years you’ll wipe off your life by fighting the crowds and that crazy lady I met on aisle 5 at Mervyn’s 10 years ago (she still haunts me). Stress reduces our youthfulness; it’s a fact. For the first time in forever you’ll be at peace and rested at all your Holiday gatherings.
5. People are more important than things.
Sure the holidays are filled with the giving and receiving of gifts, but they can also surge with an undercurrent of financial stress when friends and family have absolutely no idea HOW they will buy gifts for the ones they love. Consider asking your friends and family to gather at your home for a shared meal in lieu of exchanging gifts. There are few things more pleasant than a relaxing evening of good company and good food. Okay, maybe an elastic waist band, but not much else.
Published November 17, 2008. Last updated June 27, 2018.