Christmas shopping stress: practical tips to help

It’s that time of year for many of us.

I’ve got my list (mostly). I’ve determined my budget (I think). And I’ve made plans to go out this weekend and hopefully finish my Christmas shopping. I want to be excited about the gifts I will give but something is holding me back. It’s the stress of finding the right thing with limited knowledge. The stress of how much will come out of my wallet while I don’t have work or income for 10+ days. It’s also the stress of trying to stay mindful of the environmental impact of the materials I buy. At some point, I experience an information overload. We can only deal with so much at one time. So, I’ve made a small list to help simplify my shopping process while staying true to my values. I’ve written this list as a how-to. It’s not exhaustive but if you experience some of what I have described you may find it helpful:

  • Reach out and ask the people who you are buying for what they want. Yes, it sounds obvious but it doesn’t always happen. This can help alleviate so much stress when done in time.
  • Create your list with what you know people want and some ideas of your own. This list is meant to be updated and changed. It’s also okay if it stays exactly the way you first wrote it.
  • When you are ready to shop, group your list by the stores/websites you want to visit. If you can knock out part of your list at one location it can save you extra trips, time, and stress.
  • Search for second-hand items when appropriate. Some gifts (like undergarments if you buy those) shouldn’t be second-hand. This also depends on the person for whom you are shopping. Some people love vintage items. Some prefer new. The advantages of second-hand shopping are that you are giving those items another chance, keeping them out of landfills, and likely saving money.
  • If you have the materials make Christmas cards at home instead of buying them. I have a large quantity of scrap booking paper given to me by a friend. With some $2 glue, a little creativity, and some trimming and pasting, I can make all my cards at home. It’s also a bonus that they are so personal.
  • Brown craft paper is recyclable and fairly cheap. If you are concerned with making it more festive stamp it with Christmas scenes or add a bow.
  • Remember, Christmas isn’t a contest. You don’t have to have the most decorated house or apartment on the block. You don’t have to buy the most expensive gifts of anyone in your family. Think about how you want to experience Christmas and explore your reasoning about this. In the end, make sure that you take care of yourself over the holidays.
My 4 foot Christmas tree, up and away from grabby little rabbit paws.

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