Christmas Planning – Part II

I promised y’all the rest of my tips for lowering holiday stress, so here they are! (If you missed part 1, here is the link)

Be Minimalist: I am talking about being minimalist in gift giving. I love giving (and receiving) gifts, but the whole process can be stressful and wasteful in a lot of ways. I personally think good gift giving is about quality, not quantity. You don’t need to add on extra “Christmas-y” things like candy, ornaments, and baubles.

I’ve also found in the last few years, that it is nice to give (and receive) gifts that are consumable and/or useful everyday. Most of us lament how we have “too much stuff,” and receiving lots of additional stuff at Christmas doesn’t help. So I give consumable gifts, like bath/spa products, food and sweets (preferably homemade), or year-round accessories like earrings. (The exception to this rule is if you know of something the receiver really needs; if you do, then you have the perfect gift idea)

Budget: I know, this sounds boring. Make and keep a budget during two months of a full-on advertising blitz telling you to buy everything in sight? Yes. It really is so worth it, and not just so your January credit card bill isn’t 10 pages long. Here’s what Christmas budgeting looks like for us:

1) Make a list of all the people to whom you will be giving gifts, and set a budget for each one. Big Man and I also set a limit on our gifting for each other, which may seem unromantic, but is really helpful in keeping the spending under control. It also gives both of us freedom to choose gifts knowing that they will be in the same financial “range” as what we receive.

2) Decide before you hit the stores what you are getting, and then stick to your list.

2.5) Personally, I love online shopping. I can pick exactly what I want, resist impulse buying, (usually) get out of paying sales tax, avoid crowded and stores long lines, and have everything delivered to my door. Total win. I know online shopping isn’t for everyone, but if it is something you want to try, I’d suggest amazon.com for pretty much everything commercial, and etsy.com for some awesome handmade things.

3) Don’t rule out handmade gifts, like food items or crafts (I plan on blogging some “giftable” recipes over the next few weeks so stay tuned). It is very satisfying to give something you personally made and most people enjoy receiving something with so much thought behind it.

So there it is, my advice on making Christmas the most enjoyable and least stressful holiday. I hope you find my tips helpful! Really, I think it all comes down to focusing on the important things: Jesus, family, and fellowship, and letting all the rest of the hype take second place.

I hope you and your family have a fabulous Christmas, surrounded by good food and lots of love.

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