October 31, 2022 4 min read

Photo credit: Julia Volk

The holidays... we so look forward to them and yet dread them at the same time. Thanksgiving with family, celebrations with friends, decorations, gift lists, travel… the frenzy ensues. But not this year. Make this year the one where you kickstart the season with less stress and more joy, starting with the holiday gift list. Here are a few ingenious hacks to consider:

Make a List. Stick to It.

Make a shopping list and stick to it. No last-minute add ons.

Photo credit: Any Lane, Pexels

Compile a gift list and commit to it—as in a full-on commitment. Once you figure out what to give, that’s it – add nothing more. Those little extras end up zapping your budget and often leave you searching for more gifts to “even things out.” It takes some diligence and willpower, but you can do it.

    Set a Budget. And Don't Budge From It.  

    Set a gift budget and limit the number of gifts per person.

    Photo credit: Karolina Grabowska

    With inflation and household expenses on the rise, we’re all looking for ways to cut costs. Start by being more intentional with your list. Try limiting expensive gifts or the number of presents per person. Make this holiday season more meaningful. Do by example and set a gift limit for adults and kids, including putting a little money aside for a few meals or gifts for someone less fortunate or families in need. Have the kids help with the shopping and handing out presents to get into the true spirit of the holidays.

      Give a Group Gift or Arrange a Group Outing.

      Arrange for a group gift or group outing instead of individual gifts.

      Photo credit: Pavel Danilyuk

      Whether it’s a group of friends, co-workers, or your family, consider buying one exceptional gift everyone can enjoy rather than individual gifts. Or do a group outing where everyone kicks-in on the cost so the gift is having fun together.

      • Maybe a fancy coffee maker would be something the whole office could use. 
      • Arrange a cooking class or wine tasting for you and your friends – this way, you get in on the fun, too. 
      • Perhaps you, or someone on your list, love spending time outdoors or entertaining outside. A lightweight, portable pop-up Family Pod is a gift that will get used by everyone again and again, from sporting events to picnics, no matter the weather.

      The best part: These ideas can help reduce your list to a manageable size. Less racing around and more time for fun things like trimming the tree or baking cookies with the kids.

      Now Is Not Too Soon.

      Start gift shopping early to beat the crowds.

      Photo credit: Jill Wellington

      Scoop up 'gifty' finds throughout the year that you know someone on your list will love. Start your gift list and shopping early. You may miss a few sales, but last-minute shopping adds to holiday stress. Plus, you’ll beat the crowds, have a better selection, and have more time to browse for the right gift.

        Ask What They Want.

        Avoid unwanted gifts. Ask what they'd like ahead of time.

        Photo credit: Julia Larson

        It’s okay to ask people what they want for a gift – Santa’s been doing it forever. Give yourself a break from surprising people, which can help limit stress and result in fewer returns. Share your wish lists, and that holiday list gets written for you. Suddenly shopping becomes more effortless, and everyone is happy with the results.
         

        Give Experiences. Not Stuff.

        Experiences make better gifts and more memorable moments.

        Photo credit: Yulianto Poitier

        Another fun option; skipping gift-giving on a grand scale and focusing instead on an excursion or spending time together in a more memorable way. Of course, your little ones look forward to opening gifts, and so do you. Use smaller tokens to tease something special, like a ticket to an adventure park attached to a stuffed toy or a beach hat for a weekend at the beach you’ve planned.

        Perhaps you and your family already feel very fortunate or blessed. Giving back or organizing a charitable outing together may be an excellent way to celebrate the holidays this year. Full hearts are so much better than full stockings.

        Surprise Them with Something They Already Do.

        Give a gift card for something they love doing regularly, like a nail salon or coffee club membership 

        Photo credit: Cotton Bro

        Knowing someone’s regular habits or favorite splurges is sure to make a gift they’d appreciate. A weekly trip to the nail salon means a gift card to that business would be a welcome treat. A daily specialty coffee addiction means a coffee of the month subscription will be savored. It’s not always about something “new,” especially if you know what they already like.

        Let Go of the Expectations.

        Great gifts are those with personal touches or that are unique in some way. 

        Photo credit: Elina Fairytale

        Making every holiday perfect is a tall order since things don’t always go as planned. Worry less about meeting the expectations of others. Instead put the effort into making each gift personal or unique, such as a gift that keeps giving. A membership toward ancestry tracking like Ancestry.com, or chronicling one’s life story and having it bound in a hardcover book from Storyworth. It truly is the thought that matters.

        And finally, the holidays will be here before you know it, so put aside the gift wrap, make time for yourself and take it easy. Cozy up next to the fire with your favorite holiday beverage and music playing, then soak in the twinkling lights or gently falling snow. You’ve earned it.


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