Some people are great at gift giving, ever notice that? They excel at finding the most adorable little thing you had no idea you even wanted but the minute you see it you wonder why you didn't have it already. Its SO YOU.
People like this have a true gift. Pun intended.
Some people fall firmly into a category I like to call "Ungiftable." They have expensive taste, (hey, nothing like blowing half your Christmas budget on one person, right?!) they seem to own pretty much everything already anyway and the things they do want are high end items or clothing items found at places you don't even go to shop for yourself. (So I'll buy your shirt at Duluth Trading Co and I'll just be over here wearing last year's Target clearance rack shirt. Awesome.)
Even if you're a gifted person from paragraph one - you may find it dreadful and difficult to find something for a person from paragraph two. This is the root of holiday stress.
Well, this and being forced to spend time with family members who continually push their political views into your every conversation.
But let's deal with one issue at a time.
In my family, November and December (until Christmas) are "buy ban" months. If you see it on TV, in an Instagram Ad, on someone else's person, or anyplace you can see with your eyeballs -you are allowed to write it down, find it on Amazon and put it on your wish list, cut it out and tack it to the fridge - do anything you can and want to to leave it as a hint but you cannot purchase it.
The only thing we purchase in November is the usual butt-load of groceries and household needs. So that's Tip One. No unnecessary purchases in these months.
Unfortunately because we can't control those that don't live in our own household, (and for the love of tinsel don't argue by saying we can't control people that DO live in our households. Please. Don't ruin my holiday with this nonsense. Set a rule and enforce it. The end.) Tip One only goes so far to help our holiday stress level stay low. This helps keep stress to about knee-level low.
We'd prefer stress be pond-scum low.
So, Tip Two: save the "Ungiftables" (?? - see paragraph two) for last. No you don't have to preorder to get them the thing they wanted most. No you don't have to stare blankly at every shelf in every store you go into just hoping the right gift will jump out at you. This is time away from the holiday things you actually LIKE. Christmas baking, watching your favorite holiday movie, shopping for people who are actually fun to shop for... THAT is the stuff you bump up to the top of the to-do list. The "need to buy gift for Uncle Crawford" followed by seven question marks and the thinking-face emoji -that can wait. Move it down the list. All the way down. Like to the bottom. After "clean the shower."
Worst case scenario, you go buy Uncle Crawford a gift card the day before you celebrate.
Impersonal? Oh because the golf club covers you gave him last year were so touching?? Gift cards are not impersonal. They're practical. Because practically everyone actually enjoys getting them and using them, practically no one ever wastes them and when they're used, the person IS getting something they really want. That's practically a win/win. And also, Uncle Crawford already had club covers. Custom made ones, might I add. So your gift got stashed in the garage.
How's that for personal?
In summary, Tip Two is go with the gift card.
Tip Three is booze. That's the end, plain and simple. Unless you're under 21, in which case (does anything I write here make sense?!?!) Tip Three for you youngsters (oh kill me, I just said youngsters) is "stomach ache." Nothing makes parents move faster than the possibility of having their child vomit somewhere - knowing full well they then have to put that child in the car and there's a chance more vomit will happen there.
Parents will avoid car vomiting at all costs.
So if you're stuck at some holiday thing you don't want to be at for even one more horrendous moment - find a parent and tell them your stomach feels funny. Then go home and watch Elf. Or Home Alone.
Holiday stress? Let's have less of that. Less stress. More cheers. I mean, cheer. (Hey, who are we kidding, many times "cheers" equals cheer - let's be real here.)
More taking in the twinkle lights. More singing along to the Christmas songs. More merriment. There's plenty of time for stress the other 335 days of the year. Tell that crap you'll get back to it after the holidays are over. Until then, stick it on a high shelf, grab a glass of wine and check the TV. I'm sure ELF is on one of the channels.
Here's to a pond-scum low level of holiday stress - cheers!