This time of year is absolutely my favorite for sure but it’s also the busiest. In addition to the holidays I have birthdays and anniversaries of my loved ones to plan for. My anniversary, my brother’s anniversary, his four kid’s birthdays, two of my kid’s birthdays and my husband’s birthday all fall between November and January. It’s always stressful because I take gift giving seriously. It’s one of my top love languages. It’s just that I put so much pressure on myself it can feel overwhelming sometimes.
Over the years I’ve learned a few things about surviving this time of year. Here are 5 tips for you if you have birthdays or other celebrations to prepare for this time of year.
1. Shop Early:
This is probably the most obvious and hardest to do but start shopping throughout the year so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming when the holidays roll around. A few advantages are:
- You can save up for things and spend more money on something for that special someone.
- You have time to pay attention to that person’s needs and get them something that will really encourage them.
- You have time to watch for deals and for a certain item to go on sale.
2. Shop online:
I really don’t shop on line that often for things but this year we did our Christmas shopping on cyber Monday. It really took away a lot of stress and I love that the items come already in boxes! I just have to slap some wrapping paper on and BAM! I’m done!
3. Take advantage of the holidays:
I know that kids may not want their birthday parties to be holiday themed but if you look hard enough you can find things on holiday clearance that can be used for other things. You can also take a holiday theme and extend it into something your kids like. For example, you can take Thanksgiving baskets that are on sale use them to create a scavenger hunt. There are a lot of character driven things on sale at the craft stores this time of year that you can use for your kid’s favorite character themed birthday party as well.
Purchasing 2-3 on sale items for next year can really help you out in reducing stress the upcoming year.
4. Get creative with gifts:
Sometimes you might find yourself in a position where you can’t really spend a lot of money this time of year and you find that you are stretched thin financially. Get creative with your gifts! Here are some examples:
- Buy $10 gift cards to Starbucks and make a gift certificate for free babysitting so new parents can have some much needed alone time (even just for 2 hours!). It can make a huge difference to date deprived couples!
- Make a batch of your famous (you fill in the blank). This time of year is busy for everyone so extra snacks or meals are always a big help to anyone!
- Offer to help your loved one complete a project you know that they’ve been trying to accomplish for a long time. Whether it’s cleaning out the garage or moving furniture around it will make a huge impact on that person’s life since the project was important to THEM.
- Spend some quality time with your kids. It’s always amazing to me how much my kids value time alone with me. I guess I forget what it’s like as a kid with other siblings in the house. Sometimes I do this thing where I let one kid stay up 15 minutes later with me to watch a little TV, talk or play games. Whatever THEY want to do for 15 minutes is the key. They absolutely love it! It doesn’t cost me any money but it’s a super valuable gift to the both of us!
5. Shop around your house:
This is another idea for the times when you don’t have the money to buy gifts but want to give someone something special. You might have the gift right under your nose!
- Is there something that you have (like an outfit or pair of shoes) that your friend/sibling has had her eye on for a long time? Gifting it to her would be HUGE!
- Maybe you have a piece of furniture you can refinish to give to a loved one as a gift.
- You probably have the ingredients to make a spa basket right in your on house! I have a tutorial where you can make a “relaxation basket” for a stressed out mom.
You don’t have to let finances or time be an obstacle for you this time of year. But if all fails give yourself some grace. Give a person a store bought card and a hug. Give them some words of encouragement and tell them how much you love them. There are many times when I miss anniversaries and birthdays because life happens. I feel pretty terrible about it but I make myself call, apologize and wish them a happy belated birthday. A lot of people are busy with various holiday preparations this time of year so continue to be merry and focus on Jesus who is the reason for the season. Your attitude can be a gift in itself to those around you!