A Stress Free Christmas
by Kellie Strausser
I am not a doctor, but I do know one thing I have learned over the past couple of years at Christmas time: You do not have to subscribe to the media blitz of shopping until you drop. I don't know how many years I had wasted on being one of the multitudes of people who drive themselves insane to search for the perfect Christmas gifts on the most stressful days. One of these days being the day after christmas, Black Friday, when every store promises huge discounts on gifts for Christmas. Unless shopping is a hobby that makes you desperately happy, I would avoid shopping on these days. Long ago, I decided that it just isn't worth it. The angry crowds, the long lines, the pushy salespeople and the empty wallet at the end of the very, very long and tiring day, made me feel very weary about the Christmas season. Now, on this day, I sit back and relax, knowing that I am not one of those people waiting impatiently in a line twenty-five people deep or getting cut off in traffic.
Christmas means many things to many different people. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for many. It is the gathering of family and friends. It is laughing and cooking and eating...and giving and opening those gifts that we have searched so hard for. Focusing on everything mentioned other than the gifts, is to me more meaningful...but alas, it is the tradition to give and receive at Christmas. The following tips are what I have done and will do for the gift giving season to help keep my life as simple as possible during this time. It just doesn't have to be stressful.
1) Shop throughout the year. Instead of hardcore shopping one month before Christmas day, if you are in a store and happen to see something you know someone would like, buy it right then and there (of course if it is on sale, even better...and many times you can find a lower price at another time of the year other than the Holiday season). Stash these gifts away where other hands can't find them, and when Christmas time rolls around, you won't be one of those stressed out shoppers.
2) The above also applies to wrapping paper, gift bags (very easy), cards and bows. These items can be found at many discount and dollar stores for half the price, throughout the year.
3) The internet is a great way to shop without pressure, lines, grumpy shoppers and noise. It's stress free, and super easy. All you need is a credit card, a secure website and obviously a computer, and you can shop anytime of the year.
4) If you are cooking the Christmas dinner, buy the items that are canned, boxed or that you can freeze on your regular trips to the grocery store. When the big day arrives, the only things you need to shop for are any fresh produce items, which will only take minutes.
5) Gifts for kids are also super easy. Many kids may have specific things in mind that they want for Christmas, but when it comes to very young children, they are just happy opening presents. Dollar stores and discount stores are great places to find all kinds of toys, books and clothes that won't break your budget.
I can't stress enough how non-stressful Christmas can be. By not waiting until the last minute, thinking ahead a bit, and not subscribing to the media frenzy....your Christmas can be enjoyable and relaxing. What a change from years past that kept you running all through the holidays! Sit back and watch everyone else scatter, while all of your holiday work is done. It's a great feeling.
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