16 November, 2019

Take the Stress Out of Christmas Shopping & A Giveaway

Do you love Christmas but dread that stressful feeling that creeps up when it’s time to buy gifts? Presents are a tricky thing indeed. You may have conflicting thoughts running through your mind at this busy time of year.

Things like,

“So-and-so never likes anything I buy… what should I do?”

“The kids keep changing their minds about what to put on their lists!”

“What to get for the person who already has everything?”

“How can I get all of my shopping done when I have no time as it is?”

“What should I buy for teachers, bus drivers, babysitters, the postman?”

And of course, on the minds of just about every holiday gift-giver:

 “How will I manage not to go broke this year?”

The best way to reduce Christmas gift-giving (and receiving) stress is to be upfront about what’s going to happen. Before a solid plan can click into place, there needs to be a frank discussion. Sit down with your immediate and extended family. Or, initiate an email conversation if that feels less awkward for you.

Ask questions like,

“How much should we agree to spend per person this year?”

“Are we doing gifts for the adults in the family or just the kids?”

“What about a Secret Santa Grab Bag?” This is a fun way to reduce the number of gifts to buy at Christmas time.

Something for Everyone

One good solution for Christmas is to come up with a theme that reduces the amount of factory-made, shop-purchased “stuff” that everyone is so tired of receiving year after year only to see it break after a few uses.

“Experience gifts” could be a great solution for the family who enjoys spending quality time or travelling together. Instead of sweaters and toys, you can plan a family outing, such as a museum trip, or themed event, like a hockey game.

Adults might opt to swap smaller, thoughtful gifts like a photo collage or picture mug, knitted mittens or a cosy throw for the sofa.

Gift certificates to things like a massage therapy session, pottery lesson, cigar bar, or golf outing could make a fun and exciting Christmas present for the avid hobbyist in your life.

Wine or beer and a set of glasses, or food gift baskets (could be homemade, could be store-bought) make nice gifts for the holiday host and hostess.

Teachers’ gifts can be homemade to save money, and you can do a bulk prep night if you’re crafty or handy. Think candle pouring, essential oil based homemade soaps, or hand-painted votive holders. If you’re not the maker type, how about a gift card for Krispy Kreme or Starbucks? Coffee and tea are always well received, and won’t break the bank.

Being on the Gift Receiving End Can be Stressful, Too

How to handle gifts that you can’t use, so you won’t end up giving the gift-giver the wrong impression, and be looking at a decade or more of fuzzy slippers which you never did like, year after year?

Be grateful but honest. Timing may be the key as well. You may not want to blurt in the middle of the family gift exchange, “Oh, boy, ANOTHER year, another bad tie!”

But after some time has passed, you might gently explain to the gift giver that the tie (or whatever it was) isn’t quite your style, and you can ask if someone else in the family can make better use of it.

Another solution for less-than-ideal gifts is to stash them in a box in the attic and file under “regift.” We get enough invites in our lives that this hopefully won’t be an issue, as long as you circulate the gift into a different social circle. (If grandma gives you an ugly sweater that you really can’t stand, better to give it to a friend or use it at the office grab bag party, then wrap and give to your sister).

Avoid giving and receiving unappreciated or unwanted gifts in the first place by initiating an open up-front discussion about who needs/wants what this year.

You might learn that your £50 is better spent on a new shaving kit for your hubby than that scarf and hat set that you planned to spend knitting (which would have itched him anyway).

How to handle the tough topic of Christmas gifts and Santa, with kids?

First, have your children make a firm decision on what they’d like to see on their Christmas wish list this year. Tackle the task early, so that you can be sure the items are in stock. Explain to the children that Santa’s toy shop does run out of merchandise, and if we don’t put your order in they might miss out on getting what they want. “Mail” their lists to Santa right away, so they won’t be tempted to make changes.

One idea is to have your child list 2 or 3 big-ticket items, plus an assortment of smaller-sized (read: lower-priced) gifts. Explain to your kids that no matter how good they were, Santa can’t always make the ultimate gift happen for every child.

Staying Within Your Holiday Gift-Giving Budget

If you’re concerned about the holiday budget, you should be. People tend to go wild with spending at this impulsive, generosity tinged time of year.

Remember also, though, that time equals money. You might be tempted to try and break down the doors for those rock-bottom toy deals… but at the expense of what or whom else in your life?

If you feel uncomfortable driving to the shopping center in bad weather or after dark, then don’t try to be a hero. You can avoid a potential car accident, or a panic attack from trying to accomplish one too many tasks all in one day, simply by ordering Christmas gifts online, paying a bit more and splurging on shipping.

Another way to tame the gift-giving budget this year is by penny-pinching some other aspect of your life. Worried about money? Give up your takeaway pizza or Chinese this month. Or, find creative ways to make a little money to lavish on family and friends.

House cleaning, odd jobs, and setting up small gifts to sell, like hand-painted picture frames, could help you increase the balance of your bank account before you head out to shop for presents.

What about stress around receiving gifts?

To avoid stress when giving and receiving holiday gifts, approach with an open mind, open heart, and laid-back attitude. If someone gives you something you really don’t care for, don’t sweat it. These days, we’re never too far from a donation bin, and if the person doesn’t see you with their gift in the future, maybe they’ll take the hint.

If the person who never seems to appreciate your carefully selected Christmas present for them, just shrug your shoulders and realize this is just one day in a long year, which will be over before we know it.

The giveaway

To help ease the stress of Christmas shopping for you, I have a £30 gift card for Boots for one lucky winner.

Entry is via the GLEAM widget and is open to UK entrants only.  The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 15th December.

£30 Boots Gift Card

Good luck – and don’t forget to tell me your new year’s resolution for 2020 in the comments.

187 responses to “Take the Stress Out of Christmas Shopping & A Giveaway”

  1. Caroles says:

    To go to the gym regularly

  2. Violet Perkins Phillippo says:

    To be more assertive about making decisions!

  3. Emma England says:

    My New Years resolution is to be more active and save more, spend less.

  4. Tee Simpson says:

    I aim to volunteer more

  5. Laura Findlay says:

    To cut down and live a healthier life after pigging out at Christmas x

  6. Kelly Hirst says:

    My new year resolution is to spend more time with my mum

  7. Naomi Williams says:

    To lose some weight and be more active

  8. Sarah Roberts says:

    To cut back on sweet stuff like biscuits and cakes…..mmmmm Cake!!

  9. Zoey H says:

    To stress less about stuff I cannot control and focus on stuff I can

  10. CAROL PATRICK says:

    My New Year’s resolution will be to try to lose a little more weight.

  11. Tracy B says:

    I’m not making any this year because I don’t want to feel like a failure when I don’t keep them but I will try to get a bit fitter and healthier

  12. Cathryn Crawshaw says:

    finally lose the baby weight

  13. Denise walton says:

    To get a bit more healthy

  14. Sandra Fortune says:

    Aiming to keep as healthy as possible

  15. Mrs Rachael Sexey says:

    To lose some weight

  16. Mel Pennie says:

    To complete the ‘Walk a 1000 Miles’ challenge. Haven’t managed it this year but am certainly aiming for it next as it will help me lose some more weight!

  17. Jeanette Leighton says:

    I’m not making any this year because I never keep them

  18. Adrian Bold says:

    My resolution is to use my car less and my bike more.

  19. Lesley Cohen Wright says:

    To live each day as fully as possible

  20. Jo Hutchings says:

    To walk an average of 10000 steps every day.

  21. paula cheadle says:

    I don’t make any, has I never stick to them

  22. Donna W says:

    It’s a big wedding anniversary this year so my resolution is to get back into shape and try to get somewhere near my size when I got married. I’d love to try on my dress again, it’s beautiful and I felt amazing in it!!

  23. Natalie Gillham says:

    I would like to stop smoking in the new year so have signed up to a stop smoking service at my local hospital. Thanks for the chance to win x

  24. Troy Easton says:

    Start going back to the gym.

  25. Patricia Avery says:

    To worry less about things I cannot have any influence on

  26. Sheri Darby says:

    I plan to go for a daily walk

  27. Rebecca Mercer says:

    To start believing in myself

  28. Marie Pomeroy says:

    To get fitter

  29. Allison Sherwood says:

    I’m not making one, I’m just going to continue with everything I achieved last year such as quitting smoking and losing weight.

  30. donna l jones says:

    to try and be more patient

  31. jo liddement says:

    I have made a list of all the d.i.y jobs to do inside the house and am determined to finish all of them next year.

  32. Ayten says:

    My NYR is to be more sociable! This year I have really focused on myself to better my mental health. I’ve had to distance myself from family and friends, stick to a daily routine and just take care of myself in the tiny details of each day. It’s been a “comfort zone”, but in the new year, I want to push out of it, be more spontaneous, and be around others more ❤️

  33. Victoria Easton says:

    Get my shoulder mended and try to decorate the whole house!

  34. Claire Willmer says:

    To find myself a hobby.

  35. Edward Guerreiro says:

    I’m going to try and quit vaping.

  36. Gemma Hendry says:

    My new years resolution will be to get my health concerns with my ms in order in hopes to have a second child by 2021

  37. lynn neal says:

    I will try to improve my fitness levels!

  38. Kat Allinson says:

    To enjoy every day and spend more time with my family

  39. Anthea Holloway says:

    Mine is to grow more vegetables and eat less meat!

  40. Michaela Turner says:

    I want to try and be more savvy with my money in the new year

  41. Marie Powell says:

    To eat more healthy and cut out sugar

  42. Carole Nott says:

    Stop making resolutions that I dont keep!

  43. lorraine kirk says:

    I’d just like to eat more healthily and get out walking more often

  44. Michelle Tinsley says:

    To get a lovely new job.

  45. James Travis says:

    Lose more weight and try something new

  46. Christine Caple says:

    It will be the same as usual, to declutter my house!

  47. Julia Kerr says:

    I want to reduce the pressure on myself and the expectations I have of myself, and give myself time to get through all the things I never get chance to, some that I want to do and others that I need to do

  48. Adele Knight says:

    To finally transfer all our old home videos on to dvd, I bought the machine to do it ten years ago!

  49. claire woods says:

    do more exercise

  50. melanie stirling says:

    My life has been hold for a long time so next year I want to travel more.

  51. Joshua Harrison says:

    to live life to the fullest.

  52. Derek Wilson says:

    To take the stairs at work instead of the lift – I only work on the 4th floor, so it shouldn’t be too hard!

  53. Jo m welsh says:

    To do more crafting and making

  54. Lia Burns says:

    To pass my driving test

  55. Lindsey Martin says:

    My new years resolution is going to be to get healthier. Not join a gym but eat the right foods and drink the right drinks.

  56. Gary Topley says:

    To be able to drive in 2020. Thankyou for the competition x

  57. ashleigh allan says:

    to lose weight!

  58. Amber Bloom says:

    To do more nice things for myself. To give myself rests and make myself feel good!

  59. Rebecca Beesley says:

    to stay on top of the ironing pile a bit better!!!

  60. Katrina Adams says:

    To seek discomfort more. I have gotten to used to my comfort bubble so to speak and I want to get out of that and have more adventures by saying yes to new things and doing things that challenge me.

  61. My new year’s resolution is to stay on top of my finances and not waste money!

  62. Emma Byford says:

    Be better at planning my time each week so I can be more productive!

  63. Laura Bryant says:

    Be the best mum I can be to my 2 week old baby boy

  64. Emma Walton says:

    To work harder on my healthy eating plan.

  65. Sarah-Jane Carter says:

    I want to save more money next year x

  66. Julie Ward says:

    I never make them because I don’t keep them

  67. Lynne Jarman says:

    To eat healthier

  68. Sophie Roberts says:

    To relax and stop letting little things bother me. Life is too short for things like that and I need to start realising that!

  69. Victoria Prince says:

    I honestly don’t know! I think it might be to appreciate the simple things more

  70. Julia Linsley says:

    To be healthier and to walk more – Be more active generally

  71. Claire Nutman says:

    To overcome past pain and regain confidence…..

  72. Ashleigh says:

    To be healthier.

  73. Michael K says:

    Lose weight!

  74. Ani Costa says:

    My resolution will be to save more and spend less!

  75. Amy Bondoc says:

    to stop eating so much junk food

  76. Joanie B says:

    Stay positive and not sweat the small stuff

  77. Lynne OConnor says:

    To stick closer to my exercise regime. I’ve lapsed on and off over the last few months

  78. blondie says:

    keep eating healthy and losing a bit of weight

  79. Stephanie Keill says:

    To maintain a healthy diet.

  80. ellie spider says:

    i dont make new years resolutions as i never keep them

  81. Hannah Rowley says:

    To lose weight

  82. Charlotte H says:

    To drink more water. I’ve failed miserably this year!!

  83. Susan Crosswaite says:

    To try to stop worrying about the future and enjoy the present

  84. Helen Tovell says:

    I don’t make them to ensure i don’t break them

  85. Louise A says:

    To stop eating chocolate!

  86. Karen Usher says:

    To try and do more on weekends when I dont have work!

  87. Claire Sarcone says:

    I need to get more excise and eat more healthy foods. Most of all drink more water.

  88. Pam Francis Gregory says:

    To walk to work instead of driving to help with getting fit

  89. Caroline Hunter says:

    To do a bit more exercise and drink less 🙂

  90. Natalie Burgess says:

    To start meditating regularly xx

  91. Hannah Lord says:

    I need to get back in the swimming pool!

  92. Diane Carey says:

    To move house and to also have more confidence to drive to various places

  93. Helen Stratton says:

    I am at the beginning of trying to rid myself of anxiety, so hopefully I will continue on my journey of overcoming this life-crippling condition.

  94. Paula Jones says:

    The same one as last year (it’s the only resolution I’ve ever kept) to be kinder to the environment,

  95. Tina H says:

    Rather than make resolutions, I’m just going to continue with healthy eating and regular exercise.

  96. Sally Collingwood says:

    To try and be more active and healthier

  97. Rebecca Sutton says:

    To prevent any bad luck!! Had enough for this year!

  98. michelle o'neill says:

    to travel more! and make time for fun

  99. Jenny McClinton says:

    To try and start afresh, this year has been a bad year so I need to make some changes in the new year to start feeling happier again

  100. Jayne Townson says:

    Mine will be to do a ramdom act of kindness for someone every day.

  101. Lorraine Tinsley says:

    To not worry too much about being overweight- need to enough life, but not too much!

  102. Megan Kinsey says:

    To read more than I did this year 🙂 I aimed at 24 books this year, but want to see if I can make it 30 next year.

  103. Carrie H says:

    I just want to keep up the progress I’ve made this year being more organised and on top of things.

  104. Kim M says:

    Healthier eating x

  105. Alana Walker says:

    To be more active.x

  106. christine shelley says:

    I’ll make one then it never is fulfilled , usually to be more organised this coming yeat

  107. Sue McCarthy says:

    I never make them but good luck to you all that do.

  108. Abigail Cullen says:

    To keep healthy in my keep fit regime, and remain positive.

  109. Nigel Soper says:

    My resolution is to make no new years resolutions as I know I won’t keep them…. but what if I keep this one ….?

  110. Sinead ORourke says:

    to keep saving.

  111. ADEINNE TONNER says:

    For me it will have to be to eat more healthy and eat less meat

  112. Dawn Samples says:

    I really would like to be more financially secure and have lots of savings x

  113. Tracy Newton says:

    I am going to try and relax more. I spend soo much time looking out for everyone else.

  114. Alison Johnson says:

    To spend more time taking care of myself rather than worrying about everyone else.

  115. Emma Gibson says:

    Drink more water.

  116. Emilie Williams says:

    To start running again and implement better eating habits to set a good example for my son (due in less than four weeks!)

  117. Hazel Rea says:

    I’m going to try to worry less! I’ll do my best but I don’t hold out much hope!

  118. Helen B says:

    To clear all our credit card debt within 6 months

  119. Emma G says:

    My resolution will be to get more exercise

  120. baba says:

    to try and be more healthier and more positive

  121. olivia Kirby says:

    I never make them, I find it more depressing when you inevitably break them so don’t other

  122. Joanne Ahmed says:

    I’ll be honest, I don’t normally make them but I will promise myself to continue swimming <3

  123. Amelia says:

    To try and live a healthier life being recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic. I’m not overweight, but intend to watch my carbs and exercise more x

  124. Jodie Green says:

    I don’t tend to make any, but I do have plans to finish decorating all the house and get our loft conversion done!

  125. belinda porter says:

    to be clutter free i started doing the kon marie of the joy of tidying up but need to start again

  126. Lisa says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to stress less! I bet it won’t happen!

  127. Kerry C says:

    Try and live life in the day, one day at a time!

  128. Rachael Simmons says:

    Move out of my parents home, again! Been saving for 5 years since my divorce to gain my independence back

  129. Helen R says:

    Learn a new skill and cook from scratch more.

  130. Hilda Wright says:

    I don’t make them really. I prefer to try to make improvements on an ongoing basis!

  131. Christine Lockley says:

    To be happier, healthier and learn to crochet

  132. ValB says:

    To continue to take a daily walk – great exercise and fresh air

  133. Ursula Hunt says:

    I want to lose weight off my stomach

  134. Julie Scattergood says:

    To enjoy more of the simple things in life

  135. emma c says:

    more excerise !

  136. Ruth Harwood says:

    To not make any resolutions I’m unlikely to keep!!

  137. Rachel says:

    stick to eating healthy!

  138. Jayne Wilson says:

    To be kinder to myself and learn to say no

  139. DANIELLE V says:

    Be kinder to myself and to try and stop stressing!

  140. To eat five pieces of fruit or veg a day ! 🙂

  141. Mark R says:

    To make time to get out walking in the Lakes more regularly

  142. Ellen Stafford says:

    To lose weight so I can have my gallbladder removed.

  143. Caroline Tinsley says:

    I’ve not even thought about it but I more than likely won’t bother. I tend to make changes when I feel something isn’t going well as I’m more likely to stick to it then rather than at New Year.

  144. Kelly Wheelhouse says:

    Mine is to not get so stressed over silly little things

  145. donna skelton says:

    get healthy, save more money and get home decorated

  146. Gillian Hitchen says:

    Pretty much always to exercise/lose weight and read more books!

  147. Alice Gilkes says:

    My new year’s resolution for 2020 would be to cut down on the amount of salt that I consume.

  148. William Gould says:

    We don’t make resolutions at New Year as such, but do constantly review things throughout the year, at 2 or 3 monthly intervals.

  149. Lindsey Stuart says:

    To stop being such a people pleaser.

  150. Katie says:

    I want to eat healthier

  151. Charlotte G says:

    I want to do more exercise & drink more water

  152. Donna Loxton says:

    To have a good clear up of my house.

  153. Tanya says:

    To appreciate how lucky I am in my life!

  154. Fiona Rennie says:

    To only buy things we really need and start trying to save

  155. I expect it will be the same as always – not to buy any new craft supplies apart from replacing essentials as they are used up. And as always, I’ll not make it to the end of January before I break it – although I’ll try to beat last year’s failure date of January 2nd.

  156. Fiona jk42 says:

    my new year’s resolution will be to continue to take a walk daily, and to exercise 3 times a week.

  157. Susie Wilkinson says:

    To give myself a kick up the proverbial and get on with life!

  158. Joyce W says:

    To continue to declutter my house and to not buy anything else until it is done

  159. Marie Evans says:

    Well every year I make one & then fail somewhat but I have nearly lol kept last yrs going so I am going to carry that one over this coming year.
    Be more Optimistic! Always being a glass half empty kinda gal but I’m trying lol.

  160. Margaret Clarkson says:

    Not sure yet!

  161. Linda Ford says:

    I want to be able to budget better and save more!

  162. Priscilla stubbs says:

    I need to put myself first more often and learn to say no once in a while

  163. You know what, I haven’t thought of one yet. I have already kind of changed my lifestyle a bit in the past few months for better health and that would usually be the type of thing I would say. Hmm, I think maybe I need to try and be a bit more social. I find it hard to make friends, I let my disability hold me back and make me more awkward than necessary and it leaves me lonely and unhappy sometimes. I need to gain some confidence!

  164. Shelley Jessup says:

    To say out loud something positive about myself every day in the morning before the day starts & before bed to say out loud what my best part of the day was.

  165. Nikki Hayes says:

    I don’t make New Year’s resolutions any more as I never used to stick to them anyway – would probably be something like “eat less junk” 😀

  166. Anthony Harrington says:

    my resolution will be the same as every year, to not stress and worry so much, no doubt it will only last a very short while again!

  167. Margaret Gallagher says:

    Self care – seem to have lost me somewhere this year – time to rebalance life

  168. Nadia Josephine says:

    My resolution is to be more active and learn a new skill

  169. Susan Smith says:

    To lose weight, ready for my friends wedding

  170. Lisa Rowsell says:

    To be kinder to myself.

  171. MARIA ROGERS says:

    To get my blog up and running, no more excuses!

  172. Amanda tanner says:

    I never make any as I always break them within weeks. My normal one is to cut back on alcohol but that never happens

  173. Jade P says:

    I have a list. To give up smoking, to seriously save for a deposit for a mortgage and to exercise properly and sort out my diet!

  174. Susan B says:

    Get some decorating done is at the top of my ist.

  175. Catherine S says:

    To get back into shape

  176. Iain maciver says:

    lose weight

  177. Julia Bradshaw says:

    To visit my mother more often & take her out.

  178. Annabel Greaves says:

    I would love to have a new career

  179. Sheena Batey says:

    To exercise and tone more

  180. Pauline Dring says:

    To complete the 1,000 mile challenge earlier than I did this year

  181. Allan says:

    To continue with my not drinking alcohol 7 months now

  182. Solange says:

    To stop with all the fizzy drinks.

  183. Andrea Upton says:

    Lose weight, get fit!

  184. Tracy Nixon says:

    I seriously never make any!

  185. Peter Watson says:

    The same resolution as last year,to lose weight.

  186. Mrs C says:

    To appreciate everyday and be thankful for the smallest things, even on the hardest of days

  187. bev says:

    Enjoy life to the full!

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