Handling the Holidays

I like to make my Christmas list fun, that way I get excited about using it.
I like to make my Christmas list fun, that way I get excited about using it.

We got our first couple of inches of snow this weekend and that solidified it: the most wonderful time of the year is upon us again!

With all of the beautiful snow, the twinkling lights, and the celebrations comes the crowds, the shopping, and the wrapping. All done with love, but none the less a little stressful.

This is my first Christmas as a “full-blown adult” without the excuse of being a poor college student, paired with an expanding Christmas list, I was feeling slightly overwhelmed. (I may not be a student anymore, but now I have student loans coming due…Happy New Year).

Luckily, this year my family helped me out by doing a name draw. We draw names out of a hat and do presents for that person (I got my sister, woot woot!). So that helped take some of the pressure off. But there were still plenty of others, and there is still much to be done in the next month! Oh where to begin?

  1. Make a list!

    This sounds simple enough but quickly gets complicated. You may randomly remember someone who you need to add while grocery shopping, or you suddenly realize you need to buy a co-worker something. It is easy to get multiple lists going at once. Stop it. Put it in a planner, make it a list on your phone, or a google document. Keep your list centralized though. I like to make mine pretty so I get excited to add to it. This is also a great place to put ideas of what you want to buy for people, so space out accordingly.

  2. Make a budget.

    This is so important. Figure out how much money to spend, preferably exactly, but even an idea is a good.

  3. Track your gift.

    No, I don’t mean make sure you know the tracking number of your latest shipment from Amazon (though that is important). I mean, as you start to actually buy gifts, put how much it costs next to that person on your list. You see what you have spent so far and keep track of where you are at overall. And if you are anything like me, you remember what you bought for who when it comes time to wrap.

  4. Get creative.

    Now that you have a budget, you know what you won’t be able to buy for people (sorry sis, that Kate Spade purse will come at another time). You may have to get creative. That gives you the perfect excuse scour Pinterest.

      • Make a homemade recipe book
      • Make a “movie night” basket that has a movie and popcorn and some candy.
      • Get a couple in the family a restaurant gift card that says they have to use it on a date night (bonus: add in that you will babysit.)
      • Find a beautiful quote or poem, print or hand write it, and frame it.

    Also check out Etsy for some creative gifts that would be unique. Watch for sales that are happening all over the place. If you are really brave there is this thing called Black Friday coming up-may the odds be ever in your favor!For those people who are just hard to buy for, ask them. I get the whole surprise thing but you want to make sure they like what they are getting. Maybe there is something they need.

  5. Speaking of asking people what they want…

    if you are annoyed by that question from family and friends, or really dig the surprise element, make a Pinterest board. I made a secret Pinterest board and invited my immediate family to view it. I try to add things that I would really like, that would be appropriate gifts, to it throughout the year. That way, when my Nana asks my mom what I want for Christmas, she can just check the board. Even click on a link that will lead them right to the gift. Simpler for everyone.

  6. Plan.

    I know… I’m not great at planning ahead either, but try have some short-term goals, like getting one present done a week. If you have to order something, try to do that first. If you are going to make something, remember that paint has to dry, and it takes time to get pictures printed. And all of this has to be wrapped, sometimes mailed.


Remember to stop and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Take in the lights, the smells, and the time with people. It is not so much about gifts as the thoughts behind them. And…

Acts of kindness go a long way.

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