5 Tips for Stress-free Shopping this Holiday Season

 

Some people ease the stress of holiday shopping by starting early, but for most, the shopping season doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving. Every aspect of holiday shopping can be stressful, from looking for a parking spot in a crowded shopping center to choosing the perfect gifts to dealing with the bills. The holidays in general also add to your stress level, because your to do list is a mile long—you may feel over-scheduled. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ease the stress of holiday shopping and ease the tension.

1. Stick to Your Budget

One of the primary stressors of holiday shopping is the budget. When shopping for people on your list, it’s easy to go overboard, but wading through a pile of receipts can up your stress level in seconds. To deal with this, stick to your budget. The Mayo Clinic offers the following tip: “Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.” For most people, it truly is the thought that counts, so cut yourself some slack and resist the temptation to over shop. 

2. Ask Your Family What They Want

While the surprise element is one of the best parts of gift giving, it’s not guaranteed that your giftee will love what you hand selected. To take the guess work out of gifting, have members of your family create and share online wish lists. By having these lists online, you will be able to access them while you’re shopping. 

3. Do It Online

Save yourself from the stress of dealing with crowds, parking and lines by shopping online. The American Financial Network  lists the following benefit of online shopping: “You can easily plan your shopping from the comfort of your home instead of fighting crowds. Instead of sitting in a line at 5am on Black Friday, save yourself some sleep, get your shopping done, and make your family breakfast.” If you choose to buy gifts online, give yourself time for shipping to ensure that your gifts will arrive in time. 

4. Take a Break

With so much going on during the holiday season, it’s easy to put yourself last, but taking time to focus on numero uno will make you more relaxed. Treat yourself to a chair massage at the mall while out shopping, or a manicure to celebrate the purchase of the last gift on your list.  Make sure to include these items in your holiday shopping budget. By taking a break and relaxing, even for 30 minutes, you can reset your frazzled mind and rediscover your holiday cheer. 

5. Make Plans In Advance

By scheduling your holiday activities, including shopping, you can save yourself from stress created by overlapping activities and rushing around. Mayo Clinic advises, “Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients.”  This advice holds true for all of your shopping. Even if you don’t have a specific list of items, keeping track of who you have and have not bought presents for will help eliminate additional shopping trips. 

The holidays are supposed to be a time of cheer and happiness, but many traditional activities, including shopping, end up taking a toll on our mental wellbeing. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your holiday shopping will be a smooth and easy process.