Ask anyone: The holidays can be difficult thanks to their ability to suck energy and drain finances. According to a study commissioned by UPS Canada, one-third of Canadians find holiday shopping more stressful than it was five years ago thanks to overcrowded stores, increasingly expensive gifts and difficulty finding the right gift for everyone on their list. If they could ask for anything, Canadians wished for more money (69 percent), energy (43 percent) and time (42 percent).
Want to increase your scores of all three? These tips will help you save in all the areas that matter.
Learn to say “no”
You don’t have to do and be everything to everyone, so reduce your obligations and focus on the events and tasks that mean the most to you. Save writing holiday cards for the people who actually play a significant role in your life and only attend the most important parties and dinners. When it comes to checking off family traditions, like cutting down a Christmas tree or buying tickets to The Nutcracker, stick with the most meaningful and cost-effective rituals.
Skip busy mall parking lots and long checkout lines by ordering your gifts from the comfort of your couch. You won’t have to lug coats and bags from shop to shop and you may even save money by comparing prices between e-shops with the click of a button. Though it can be tempting to buy for yourself too, keep a must-have list on your phone instead and give it to anyone who asks what to buy you.
Ship packages with ease
Rearranging your schedule to stay home to sign for deliveries adds unnecessary stress to your already packed days. Become a UPS My Choice® member and decide how, where and when your packages will arrive, avoiding missed deliveries and keeping your packages safe. You can also use the online tool to set holiday holds, change your delivery address or reroute to a UPS Access Point® location convenient for you.
Make gift swapping a new ritual
If you have a huge extended family or your circle of friends continues to expand, plan to cut down on the number of gifts that everyone has to purchase for holiday parties. Agree to only buy gifts for the kids, draw names for Secret Santa or exclusively spend money on a group activity or charity donation.
Give the same gift to everyone
Coming up with the perfect gift for every single person on your list can be stressful and time-consuming, so cut out the guesswork and give everyone the same item — whether that’s pajamas, a favourite book, an engraved mug or a bottle of wine. If one item doesn’t work, you can choose three different items: one for men, one for women and one for children.
Host a cookie exchange
Plan a get-together with friends or family where everyone chooses a cookie, square or tart and bakes a batch of a dozen for each person in attendance (plus an extra dozen for sampling). If you bring nine dozen peppermint cookies for eight people in attendance, you will leave with eight different desserts. It makes for a holiday party with a purpose and means more treat variety for your family.
Stock up on supplies
Avoid last-minute runs to the store by stocking up on the necessities for gift-wrapping (paper, labels, ribbon and tape) baking (sugar, flour, eggs and butter) and partying (booze, ice, napkins). If you have leftovers, you can always use them at a later party or next holiday season.
Put your health first
It’s hard to completely escape the mad rush of the holidays, but prioritizing your self-care will allow you to better handle whatever’s thrown your way. Try to get your sleep, exercise when you can (a brisk walk to tire out the dog counts!), minimize your sugar indulgences (since sugar intake can have a negative impact on mental health) and take time for yourself every day — even if that means a few minutes to savour your morning coffee without interruption.