A few tips on how to deal with the beast that is the Holiday Season:
1. Do shopping early. Really, really early. You will find better deals and have more time to plan out thoughtful and unique gifts. I began my shopping in February of this year, picking up a few small things here and there. The benefits to this are that you can catch better sales and prices, and you wont feel so rushed when the time comes to give gifts, if you're into that kind of thing.
2. Have everything wrapped by Thanksgiving. Thats my goal this year. I have also been collecting flat rate boxes when I go to the post office, so that when its time to ship stuff, I already have the materials on hand and don't need to make extra stressful trips out when everyone else is doing the same thing too. Plus, it gives you more time around thanksgiving to attend parties, visit with family, play board games, watch movies and drink holiday beverages :)
3. Make a list. I have everyone I am buying for on a list, and I write down what they're getting and check them off when they're done. I don't shop for many people, so this makes it easy to see my progress and feel like I have a handle on the situation.
4. Learn something new. This year I'm teaching myself how to make soap and lotion and other small cosmetic items. If they turn out nice, guess what the ladies in my family are getting for christmas? I think its important to learn a craft and to share it with others (especially a useful craft). There is something to be said for not just picking something up at the store and giving it to someone. We all like it when people spend time on us, and its an easy way to show that you care about what you got them.
5. Enjoy yourself. One of my favorite parts of the season is getting a huge coffee and walking around window shopping. Or, getting a huge coffee, bundling up, and running errands. I have a coffee problem, I know. But seriously though, it should be fun. Enjoy the decorations, the lights, the season and what it symbolizes to you.
Hopefully someone out there who hates Christmas can take some ideas from this and have a more enjoyable season. I'll be posting about some of the homemade gifts I'm doing as it gets closer :)