How To Overcome Christmas Shopping Stress!
It’s the season to be jolly, not bursting out unexpectedly in tears from stress. Yet, it’s the season that can put a lot of women over the top of their stress levels, especially moms. They will break down, with “I can’t do everything!” And it’s true. You can’t. So stop blaming everyone else, and stop trying to do everything!
Look, I think we all realize at the heart of the outburst is an intense desire for a perfect Christmas: A.K.A. get your loved ones everything they want, make the home picture perfect, have lovely food to serve, and oh, yeah – let’s serve up a few extra surprises like a visit from Santa, or three extra people sleeping over, or the new pet someone thought was a great gift for your already bursting home. And then just when you think it’s all done, there’s that last minute shopper who needs your help Christmas Eve! The last thing you want to do is go to a mall or stay up all night putting together a toy. Yet, you say the dreaded word, “Yes.”
Why? Why oh, why?
Admit you are crazy with Christmas.
Just admit it. Acceptance is the first step. You have the disease to please. And you are just one of those patient, wonderful, loving people that everyone knows they can step all over. And they know your weak spot. If their failings impact any of the wonderful plans you have in play, they know you will help them. You are almost forced to help them because you’ve done so much already.
Stop saying ‘yes’ ‘fine’ ‘okay’.
Practice with me. “No.” “No, thank you.” “Gosh that sounds enticing, but, no.” “Wrap your presents for you because I do such a good job? That’s so sweet, but it’s more personal when you do it yourself–so, no.”
If you are not good with the direct approach, here are some “buy time” statements until you can feel comfortable with the excuse you come up with. “I’ll have to see.” “I’ll have to check my schedule.” “I have some things planned already.” (Like putting my feet up with a cup of cocoa and watching a Christmas movie marathon.) My favorite: “I’m booked solid for the next week. Can it wait until after Christmas?”
Have a plan.
Sure these things can help with others, but there’s nothing better than a plan in advance to fight your own shopping and wrapping and decorating spasms.
- Limit Gifts. Limit the gift buying. Look, shopping has become the national pastime. Getting gifts is no longer special because people are always shopping and buying what they want. Limit who you buy for to children, spouse, and parents.
- Don’t Gift. Consider not gifting. Don’t gift friends, boyfriends, and colleagues. Instead plan something to do together, ideally something Christmassy and fun. Time together is a better gift than shopping, sweating, wrapping, etc – all alone – and then it’s open in 1 minute, and everyone moves on.
- Gift Cards. If you feel obligated to give gifts, then do gift cards, and one stop shop.
- Money. Alternatively – give money. I prefer giving cash over gift cards as I know it won’t get lost or go unused. And nice clean bills from the bank are the only thing I like cold at wintertime. Trust me, this can give someone chills of appreciation.
- Donate to Charity. Let everyone know the charity you are giving to, and include all their names on your donation slip. You can get thank you cards from the charity or make your own with information about the charity. It’s often a better use of your hard earned cash.
- Decide to Own It. Okay, none of that works for you? Then give into over-doing everything, but cram it all into a shorter amount of time, and include hot toddies, chocolate, and cookies while wrapping gifts by the fire with music or your Christmas movie marathon. It’s not the most healthy solution, but it can be a merry one. Just give yourself three days before Christmas to breathe, and don’t be shocked if everyone rips through your carefully wrapped goodies, then either becomes obsessed with one of them for the rest of the day, or goes back to their phone. Just because you give them a gift doesn’t mean they are obligated to spend time with you. Just sayin’. The joy is in the preparation and giving, right?
No matter what you decide, keep your perspective. The actually gift-giving day goes fast! Enjoy the surprised faces, capture the photos and mental memories, then don’t worry too much if the meal is a little overcooked, or starts later than intended. You did a good job. Put your feet up and relax.
Until next time, happy shopping, giving, and drinking responsibly!