by Molly West
The cold nips at your nose in the morning. Lights outline downtown. There is an evergreen tree in your living room, decorated with shining ornaments. Cheesy movies play on the television. That’s right, December is upon us—which means Christmas is only a few weeks away.
Of course, there are other holidays celebrated during this time, such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. If those are what you celebrate, then that’s valid. However the many people who celebrate Christmas find this time to be both joyful and rather stressful. Joyful because of the bright lights and cheerful music; stressful because of your long list of friends and family to get gifts for, as well as finals. I can’t help you with your finals, I’m afraid, but I can help you pick the perfect Christmas present. If you follow these simple tips, you can lift some of the stress of the holidays and loosen up a bit.
Do your preparations ahead of time
Do not wait until three days before Christmas to start doing your shopping. If you do that, you will be insanely stressed, and your gifts will suffer. It doesn’t all have to get done right away, but you at least need a game plan. The best time to start is on Black Friday, or during the beginning of December.
Know your budget
Chances are, you have a long list of people you need to get gifts for—friends, relatives, and your teachers if you’re nice. If you spend all your money on one person, what are you going to do about the other ten people on your list? Make sure you know how much you have and how much you can spend. If you have some leftover, you can even get a gift for yourself!
Get to know what they like
This one should be obvious. However, as somebody who has received things like towels for Christmas, it is apparent that some people forget this step. If you talk to your loved ones at all, you should at least know something about them. You know they like purple? Get them a purple mug or shirt. They’re a really big fan of a TV show? Get them something from that show. It also doesn’t hurt to ask, “Hey, what would you like for Christmas?” They won’t mind, and it’s better than if you get them something they hate.
The internet has everything these days. If nothing at the store fits your fancy, they will most likely have something on a site like Amazon or eBay. Make sure you order ahead of time, though, so it arrives before Christmas.
Why spend all that money on a gift when you can make something one-of-a-kind? Get out some materials and let your creativity flow. You can write, draw, or maybe even play them a song on Christmas day. A gift made especially for the person has more sentimental value and is more meaningful than something that cost a few bucks at Walmart.
If you can’t think of anything, just give them money or a gift card. You can’t go wrong there. Then they can choose what to buy, which will guarantee it’s something they like.
Remember: It’s the thought that counts
Let’s say you don’t follow the tips above and all you can manage is a flimsy card. It’s not something to beat yourself up over. Getting somebody a present is not a life or death situation. Even if the person hates their gift, they will still appreciate that you tried your best to get them something and that you care about them. If they really love you, they should forgive you.
Hopefully, this article has helped to ease your Christmas shopping stress. Happy holidays!