Back to the holiday shopping season. I realize that it is a bit past now, but for me it has really just begun. The tendancy for me is to wait until the last possible second for everything, get really really stressed out and generally catch a cold of some kind directly after Christmas that is caused by the level of stress wreaking havoc on my body’s immune system. Such a lovely holiday tradition. Such a wonderful way to spend the season.
I realize that everyone seems to complain about the commercialization of Christmas. That it is somehow “hip” to be anti-mall, anti-buy, anti-hoopla. The difference between the hipsters and myself is that I truly believe that Christmas has been co-opted by big business and that something needs to be done about it. Instead of sitting around and whining about the way things are some habit changes to lessen the reliance on big business are the order of the day.
To help you on your stress-free, Christmas shopping experience I have some suggestions to offer. If you prefer to skip the whole present buying mumbo jumbo please see my article from 2002 – “Holidays The Way They Should Be” detailing alternate ways of celebrating the holiday season.
Ways to have a stress free shopping experience:
1 – Shop at locally owned stores. Often you can get to know the owners and have a leg up on the best sales and when items will be coming into stock. This also supports your local community and gives you the ability to know and understand your local merchants political views.
2 – Bake cookies and assemble them in a lovely cookie tin purchased from your local flea market or thrift shoppe. Be sure to wash the tin thouroughly and line with wax paper before placing the cookie assortment in. This will make everyone happy and is even more thoughtful then that little gadget you thought the person “might” like. Everyone loves cookies!
3 – Make a record bowl from an old album purchased *again* at a flea market or thrift store (instructions on assembling a record bowl can be found here) and pot a small, window sized plant in it. Herbs are the best plants for these planters. A great way to re-use albums in a funky and earth friendly manner!
4 – Make some lovely candles (instructions for making candles can be found here) and arrange in a basket with a holder and some matches. This is *obviously* an adult oriented gift. Include instructions and warnings with the candles so your gift recipient doesn’t get burned!
5 – Shop online! There are still 2 or 3 days left to buy from many sites online. This cuts out the crowds and assures you that the items will be available. At this late date you will definitely want to be sure to pay a little extra for overnight shipping.
6 – The gift of your company is always best. Come to the family party armed with pictures, stories, games and other things that you find at home. Being the life of the party can be even better than buying everyone a gift they won’t use.
Happy Holidays and keep it stress-free, if at all possible!