Holiday stress has it all -- condensed work schedules, the potential for family conflict, and awkward conversations about the feasibility of a fat bearded man fitting down the chimney, escaping the furnace, and delivering toys worldwide.
This year, I got a head start on my online shopping, then shot myself in the foot by agreeing to host a cookie-decorating party. I conceded defeat by telling my mom that the photo book -- her customary gift -- was going to be late this year, then took on an extra work assignment. What am I thinking?
There has to be a better way, so we asked for your best holiday stress-busting, getting-stuff-done, sanity-preserving tips.
1. Make a list, check it twice -- and then cut it in half Take the time to sit down and figure out what you need to do this holiday season. I have no doubt your list will be very, very long. Now, look it over and again and really think about what truly needs to get done. Is this really the year you bake all those cookies from scratch? Or handprint every holiday card? Or really get all those projects at work done before the end of the year? Remember, holidays are supposed to be fun, with time devoted to family and friends. Prioritize your list, cut it in half, and throw out the bottom half.
2. It takes a village In just this past week I've asked a neighbor to take one of my kids to the bus stop and asked my business partner to do work I was supposed to do. You may say this is evidence that my life is falling apart at the seams; I say I averted two near-certain meltdowns in just one week.
I was walking past my local thrift store last week when a delicate china tea cup and saucer, with an old-fashioned flower pattern, caught my eye. They were probably part of a tea set once, but now they'd ended up alone on a shelf in the window, gathering dust.
I have a friend who is an avid tea drinker and I thought she'd enjoy having the cup and saucer for her desk at work. Sure, the cup holds way less than the ginormous mugs we're used to these days. But I believe she'd appreciate the lovely lines of the porcelain (made in England), and enjoy having a nice cup of tea in such a pretty cup during a hectic day.
So for $1.99, plus tax, I walked out with the tea cup and saucer. I added a box of her favorite tea and for less than $10, I had a pretty thoughtful present for a good friend.
Who says you have to spend a lot of money to be a thoughtful gift giver? Here are some ideas for last minute, low-cost holiday gifts that might impress your friends and family -- and spare you some holiday shopping pain.
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