10 Tips for a Stress-Free Gift Giving Season!

The holidays are upon me, and while deep down I know there is time, my heart is starting to race. Anxiety is setting in. Friends who are “done with their shopping” and Christmas cards already arriving are stressing me out. However! There is a however! I am determined to enjoy the holidays as much as I can, and as a family we’ve decided the theme of December will be — HAVE FUN WHENEVER YOU CAN.

As I hate shopping, trips to the mall do not fall under my fun category, so I have to simplify. So our staff sat down and put some ideas together to get the shopping over with and let the fun begin. Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life are NOT going to watch themselves.

1. Make a Budget.
If you don’t, you’ll probably overspend…and have remorse come January!

2. Give any gifts you can now. 
I gave all the teachers Thanksgiving gifts this year, and on top of being able to take them off my list, the early giving gave me a chance to really express my gratitude. There is no rule saying teachers, colleagues, neighbors and friends can’t get a gift now. It will be more special to them, and will allow you to check the box. Give a holiday decoration or something red, green or sparkly for them to wear in the upcoming weeks.

3. Make a google doc.
 It will help you keep track of what you’ve gotten and prevent you keep you from over-buying. If you’ve never done so, it’s the same as excel basically, except it can live online and you can share with your partner or spouse. List all the gifts you need to buy, and then as you buy them, write down item and cost. As the lines fill up, you stress will go down.

4. Binge shop online this week.
Buy gifts while there is still time to receive all your purchases with no expedited shipping costs.
When you do, note the order confirmation number on your Google doc, and on or about the 15th of December, check to see if you received everything.

5. Set aside a room for presents.
Wrap as you buy or get in the mail. Invest in good wrapping paper that won’t tear and be frustrating. Buy lots of tape and with long string and duct tape, attach a scissor and a roll of tape to the underside of a table, so you can easily grab them.

6. Have Your Kids Limit Their Gifts to 2-3 Ideas.
It helps reinforce what the holiday is really about.

7. Use Points.
You’ve probably accumulated points on your credit card that you can use
towards gifts or gift cards. Using them during the holiday can help ease the burden of spending.

8. Forget about the perfect present.
Just make sure to include a gift receipt. At this time of year, everyone receives so many things, the chances of each of your presents being WOW are slim. Do not overthink it. You see it. You think they will like it. You buy it.

9. Don’t Forget to Use Coupons
Have them ready on your phone before you head to the mall.

10. Use different wrapping paper for each person.
When it’s time to wrap, use a different paper for each family member. Thus way, if tags don’t fall off,
nothing gets missed or confused.

And, remember, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store …”
So true, it really comes from Amazon.

Check out Karen’s Christmas gift idea for kids video.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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