Holiday shopping advertisements are in full force. They are letting us know: Christmas is right around the corner and there is so much to get done. Does your blood pressure rise a bit when you see those commercials or walk into a glitter-filled store? Mine does. I love the season and the gift giving, but honestly-- sometimes it just feels like too much.
How can we avoid less holiday shopping stress? I've put together some ideas that work for our family, and hopefully, might bring a little bit of sanity and calm to yours...
1. Buy to bless, not to impress.
I'm a firm believer that what we believe determines how we proceed. In other words, what you think is the purpose behind celebrating this holiday season will influence how you shop. It's so easy to get caught up in the game of expectations, obligation, and comparison, we will find it difficult to simply shop in a way that blesses another, rather than make much of ourselves. So, really, that is of greatest importance for me: getting my motivation for gift giving right practically wipes out the stress factor.
2. Determine a budget, and stick to it.
So much shopping stress is associated with the financial crunch that happens during the holidays. We find ourselves standing in front of too many choices, making hasty and emotional decisions that may or may not reflect our budget. Do yourself a favor, and determine ahead of time, how much you will spend, and feel good about sticking to it.
3. Consider choosing a theme for gift giving.
Although this may not be practical in all situations, it is definitely an idea worth considering for less stress and more thoughtfulness. Shopping thematically means that you determine, ahead of time, what kind of gift everyone on your list will receive this year, ie. books, gift certificates to favorite restaurants, music, or donations to ministries on the recipients' names. Choosing one category for everyone you shop for allows you to hone in on what is significant, rather than run around town seeking various gifts for each person based on their wish lists.
4. Do your research, and shop online when possible.
Holiday shopping stress exists primarily when you must stand in long lines, hunt for the last one of a particular item you are looking for, or when you run around town doing price comparisons. Do your research ahead of time via the internet, ads, and a simple phone call to your local shops. Avoid the stress of trying to compare brands and ratings at purchase time by having all that done ahead of time. One way to be blessed and to be a blessing as well is to purchase handmade! There are so many great shops, (including this one being featured in the giveaway today!), and you know it is blessing another family when you purchase from local and online artists. Many small handmade shops online are shops benefiting adoptions, ministries, and Christian organizations. It is an added bonus when you know that your online purchase can go towards building up others in the Lord!
5. Make it fun by spending time with someone you love.
Go get dinner and make it a date. Or, invite a friend and grab peppermint lattes. If you must go out into the hubbub of holiday shopping, make it an opportunity to invest in relationship. If you have little ones, as I do, getting babysitting for the night definitely helps to avoid stress. Rather than allowing stressful situations with children and schedule conflicts to consume your holiday shopping experience, set yourself up for an enjoyable outing. De-stress your shopping experience by making it a memorable time of catching up with a friend or taking your spouse out for the evening. Remember that the the process of gifting is to be a blessing...start being a blessing even while shopping.
What are some ways you are choosing to make gifting a purposeful, and less stressful this season?
Because of Grace,
Words can't express how thankful I am for each of you who have joined us on this journey for the past two years. I am overwhelmed by the thousands of women that come here every single day to share life and learn together!! While we may not be perfect (or even close to it), we desire to be better - for our families, for the world, and for our great God and Savior! Thank you for joining me in this movement as we raise children who will impact the world, take care of our homes, love our husbands, and ultimately honor God with our lives! ~Blessings, Ruth Schwenk