The holiday season is a whirlwind of activity, and buying gifts can be an added stress at this time of year.
It’s not always easy to choose the right gift, and the cost of making many purchases can add up quickly, bringing more stress when the bills come due in January.
On the flipside, the tradition of giving a gift at this time of year can bring joy. So take advantage of ways to take the stress away from gift giving with our 5 helpful ideas.
1. Go Homemade
Gifts don’t have to be large and expensive to be meaningful. Making a homemade gift provides a special touch, and can be an excellent way to teach your children about the meaning of giving. Rather than worrying about price tags, they’ll understand that the act of making and giving is just as important.
Here are some ideas:
- Homemade baking wrapped in a gift box;
- Jarred items like antipasto or relish;
- A gift basket combining homemade items like bread with oil and vinegar;
- Crafty or artistic gifts such as hand-made cards, a photo in a frame, or a crocheted blanket.
The kids will enjoy the time spent with you and your loved ones will appreciate the effort.
2. Give the Gift of Time
This is another idea that can be done with the kids. Make “holiday coupons” and include them with a hand-written card.1
Some ideas for these coupons:
- A shoveled driveway for the senior next door;
- Babysitting for that friend who never has time for herself;
- Walking the dog;
- Breakfast in bed for dad;
- Homemade dinner for mom.
You know your loved one, and you know what gift of time they would appreciate from you.
3. Make a Donation
Maybe you have a friend or family member who seems to “have everything,” or who doesn’t want material items. Giving back to the community can be a gift to a loved one too. The holiday season can be particularly difficult for those in need, and donations to charities that help are appreciated.
Make a donation in your recipient’s name to a community organization that helps those less fortunate. That can be a local charity, or a cause that your loved one is particularly passionate about, and make sure the recipient receives a notice about the gift.2
This doesn’t have to be in someone’s name either, and it can involve your children too. This is a great way to help kids think about how to help others, and understand and be grateful for what they have. Perhaps each child can choose an organization based on their interests, like helping kids in the hospital, or you can discuss organizations as a family and make a donation.3
4. Prepare a Gift Basket
If there’s a local charity that helps those in need, then they likely have the opportunity to provide gift baskets during the holiday season. This is another chance to teach your children about giving and gratitude. Churches and community organizations, and even UNICEF, have opportunities for giving baskets of essentials.4
Gift baskets often include necessary items like blankets and socks; they can include food items like canned goods, or the necessary items for a holiday dinner; and often small gifts can be added as well, such as toys. Many organizations will provide some guidance, and you can build the basket with your family to help a family in need. If you can’t prepare a basket on your own, perhaps a neighbor or friend will work with you on assembling a basket for charity.
5. Give Yourself a Gift
Perhaps you’re someone who is always looking after others before tending to your own needs. Or you’re just feeling extra harried this month. Don’t forget to give something to yourself at this time of year. It doesn’t even have to cost anything, but it’s important to provide some self care this month.
Make an appointment with yourself for an hour of relaxation in a hot bath, or buy yourself a journal and wrap it to put under the tree. Taking time each day to reflect in a gratitude journal could have a big impact on your well-being, as keeping a journal has been shown to help manage anxiety, reduce stress and cope with depression.5
Look After Yourself
The holiday season can be a time of joy but it can also be stressful. The pressure of buying gifts that you can’t afford, for instance, can add stress to an already busy time.
It’s important to look after your health. If the season is causing more than a little sadness, seek help by using our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you. Give yourself the gift of less stress this holiday season.