There are only a few more shopping days until Christmas. I am basically done???? I think…. Shopping for Christmas gifts can get really stressful especially if you have a big family (and if you have a gift giving complex like I mentioned earlier.)
Besides starting early and limiting Santa gifts, here are a few ideas that have made shopping less stressful this year for me than other years.
1. ON-LINE SHOPPING- I know I am way behind the trend on this one because I fight technology, but after braving Wal-Mart on Black Friday I was finally convinced to give major on-line shopping a try. Plus having the flu and being stuck in bed on Cyber Monday really helped too. And I have to say I have loved it. I can shop late at night and the packages come right to my door. I don’t fight traffic, parking, weather, or crowds and I don’t have to find a babysitter. And the gift already comes in the perfect box which makes it easy to wrap. I may or may not get a better deal, but I am not sure I care with all the other perks.
2.FAMILY GIFT CHAIRMAN- My side of the family has had a Family Gift Chairman for years. I believe it is a necessity with a big family. Our FGC comes up with an idea for mom and dad (with some input from others), collects the money from all the siblings, and then buys the big gift. We rotate the chairman position so everyone gets the experience and a chance to make the decision. This year, I finally convinced the Erickson side to go with an official Family Gift Chairman as well. We were getting too many differing opinions with no one in authority to make the call. So far it is working out great and things are running smoothly. And the good news is that I am not the FGC on either side so I just had to write two checks which equals much less stress.
3. LESS GIFTS- I actually had to buy less gifts this year because, thanks to the Family Gift Chairman, we are doing something different on my husband’s side. We decided to use the money we would spend on cousin and sibling gifts on a family experience instead. So that meant 6 less gifts to shop for. We are all going sledding together at Soldier Hollow after Christmas. This is something we have wanted to do for a few years now but it was always too expensive on top of Christmas gifts. I am excited and I really think my kids will remember this family experience longer than the $10 cousin gift.
4. TRADITIONS- I set gift traditions, particularly with grandparents, so that I don’t have to think of a new gift idea each year for people that already have everything.
We always get Grandpa Gene the latest kid DVD. He loves movies and this is something he can do with the grandkids. This year he is getting “Cars 2”. My SIL always gives him a desktop scrapbook calendar of all the grandkids.
Grandma Pam gets a game that she can play with the kids when they come to her house. (She is the most engaged grandma ever.) She is getting “Sequence for Kids”. My other SIL likes to always give her a Christmas book to add to her collection.
My parents love going to the movies, so we always give Grandma and Grandpa Stenson a movie gift card every year so they can go have some fun together instead of watching my kids.
These gifts are from my kids to their grandparents, so I figure I can still get creative with my gift to them if I have too. Plus we have birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to be different and sentimental. Christmas shopping seems to be easier when I narrow the field.
5. CHEATING- My sister and I cheated the name-drawing system. Shhh! Don’t tell. We aren’t proud of our actions, but we all have limits and we had reached ours. Her child drew my child’s name in the cousin gift exchange and vice versa. We had both overbought for our own kids and so we decided to just wrap up one of the extra presents we already had and put from their cousins on it. No shopping. No mailing. No mall. No post office. Ideal? No. Less stress? Yes.
I hope one of these ideas will make your Christmas shopping less stressful this year or next. Good luck!