Easy Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress
Give to the group. “A Blu-ray player or an ice cream maker is a gift that everyone can enjoy together,” says New York City event planner David Tutera. Or surprise the gang with individually wrapped tickets to a shared activity.
Think small. Several creative stocking stuffers in lieu of one big (costly) gift affords you more of a chance to speak to the personality of the recipient while also stretching out the gift-opening process. A couple of ideas: chocolate-covered Cheerios ($6 for four ounces, mrchocolate.com) or stitchable stationery ($15, chroniclebooks.com). Take the stress out of Christmas shopping with a shopping plan.
Swap IOUs, but make them special. One Christmas, Randy Mast of Anchorage, Kentucky, gave Julia, his wife of 36 years, a handwritten letter thanking her for all the dishes she had washed during their marriage and promised to do them himself for a year. That vow included loading and unloading the dishwasher and, yes, washing by hand as necessary. Mast stuck to his word―even in the face of stuck-on food.
See suggestions for holiday tips: Holiday Tipping Checklist