‘Tis the season for holiday shopping mania. Are you feeling the stress of finding all the right gifts for your family, friends, and colleagues? To add to that anxiousness, seeing Christmas decorations on store shelves this early certainly doesn’t help the situation.
Let’s be honest, the holiday season is a joyous one, but that joy can be overshadowed by the stress of gifting. To add to the pressure this year, it’s been recommended that we start even earlier because of the fulfillment issues that brands are facing across the board.
It’s only November, but I already feel way behind as I have yet to write down my holiday to-do list, let alone start shopping. If you’re in the same boat, to help settle our nerves, I reached out to Dr. Lori Lundin-Fish, PhD LMFT and founder of the Palm Beach Therapy Center in Boca Raton, for her suggestions in tackling some of this stress. Her recommendations were so good and attainable that I couldn’t omit one piece of advice.
In Dr. Lundin-Fish’s own words:
1. Become mindful and realistic with your holiday planning. There often seems to be a lot of excitement and even chaos surrounding the holiday hustle and bustle. Taking on too many tasks or making too many plans during this time will surely impact your mindset, and likely increase the level of intensity and stress surrounding all elements of the season–including holiday shopping.
2. When you are ready to begin your holiday shopping, begin with your closest family and friends. These are people you have already formed close and loving connections with; therefore it may be easier to shop! Once you have some ideas in mind, try to locate those gifts when they come to mind so that you may feel a sense of accomplishment and/or relief. These positive moments may help limit or prevent negative emotions such as anxiety or worry in the future.
3. Start your holiday shopping early. In fact, it’s never too early to begin. Keeping an active list throughout the year and picking up items you know your loved ones will appreciate along the way is a great strategy to stop the anticipation and stress of finding the right gift during the busiest time of the year. In planning ahead you are simultaneously prioritizing your peace of mind and mental health during the holiday season.
4. Have a “safety gift” (such as gift cards, home decor/accessories, edible treats, etc.) that can be altered or replicated for other people who are important to you. This may include friends, neighbors, or colleagues.
5.Remember that your stress may be related to you wanting to be thoughtful and inclusive towards others. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself permission take a step back and gift yourself the most important gift of all: peace of mind and the knowledge that you are doing a great job.
6. Above anything else, remember that even if you don’t find the gift you had wanted for your loved one, it is not as important as the love and care you each share.
On a separate note, if hunting down the perfect gifts yourself is simply too much due to lack of time, hiring a personal shopper is a fabulous alternative. It’s not something I would have considered before having two kids and my own business, but it’s a very appealing option nowadays. For more insight on the perks of hiring a personal shopper to relieve any unwanted headaches, I turned to AW Concierge founder Anthea Walker.
After speaking with Walker, I realized that one of the benefits of having a concierge team is having them secure those hard to procure luxury goods, especially with the current landscape of low inventory and long waits. When we spoke, Walker shared a recent example of her team making magic happen: “Our client was looking for a black Chanel Maxi handbag with gold tone metal which was sold out in the US. We contacted an affiliate in Switzerland and received the bag in 14 days.”
The biggest takeaway for me here is to identify a handful of solid go-to gifting items, or in Dr. Lundin-Fish’s words, “safety gifts.” Walker recommends personal gifts, saying that they “go a long way.” She further notes to consider, “What would make the person smile or even chuckle? It’s one thing to buy for those you are close to, but what about for the person who has everything? Our method for clients who seemingly have it all is to consider a classic bottle of wine, savory chocolate, or even a beautiful scented candle. Sometimes it isn’t about how much it costs but how it makes that person feel.”
With all of these great tips in mind, this year, I vow to enjoy the shopping experience, whether in-store or online. Besides, it’s so true that at the end of it all, it’s always the thought that counts. So, let’s de-stress and surrender ourselves to all the holiday cheer, including shopping.