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Archive for Sunday, December 7, 2008

How to reduce holiday stress

December 7, 2008

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The thought of trekking from store to store to buy gifts can raise anyone’s blood pressure.

Local therapists share some stress-reducing tips:

Start now. Going to stores early in the season — and early on weekday mornings — is the best way to avoid big crowds, disorganized shelves and sold-out items. On the other hand, you may tap into more savings at the end of the season.

Make a list. Jot down the names of everyone you need to buy for, along with any gift ideas you have. Once you get someone a gift, write the item next to the person’s name. That will save you from having to remember what you’ve already bought, as well as reduce impulse buys.

Set a budget. Decide what you can comfortably spend and stick to it. Remember that “expensive” isn’t the same as “thoughtful.”

Consolidate shopping trips. Choose stores that are likely to have something for almost everyone on your list. Churches and schools also may have craft bazaars where you can find unique and inexpensive gifts.

Buy duplicates. If you find a nice gift, get it for multiple people on your list (especially those who won’t cross paths with each other).

Use the Internet. Shopping online always means no lines or crowds.

Embrace gift cards. They’re easy to buy and send, and people are guaranteed to like and use them. Wouldn’t you?

Use gift-wrapping services. They’re often free, and they’ll save you from one time-consuming holiday task.

Draw names. If you have a large family or group of friends, consider picking names out of a hat so you’re responsible for just one or two gifts. You also can set spending limits together.

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