Simple holiday gift in woman's hands with holiday decor

Giving and receiving gifts is something many people look forward to during the holidays. But the pressure to spend money, the worry of figuring out the perfect gift for everyone on your list, and the hassle of fighting crowds can make the traditional gift exchange more stressful than joyful. If you’re feeling anxious about your holiday to-do list, then finding ways to simply holiday gift-giving may be the answer.

Talk About It

If you’re thinking of scaling back, it’s a good idea to talk about it with your family members so that everyone knows what to expect. Talking about your reasons for simplifying the holidays can help your family and friends understand that reducing the gift-giving will help everyone to have a more enjoyable season. You’ll get to spend more time together, stress less, and reduce clutter.

Set a Budget

It’s easy to go overboard during the holidays. Before you start purchasing, make a plan and set a budget so that you can stay within your means while celebrating. Setting a budget can help you prioritize which gifts to buy and reduce financial worry both during and after the holidays.

Gift Homemade Items

Personalize your gift-giving by creating handmade items for your loved ones. If you enjoy woodworking, are handy with a needle, or love to bake, you may be able to create gifts from scratch, with only minimal trips to the store. And these creative outlets are certainly not the limit. Think about your hobbies and talents and see if you can put them to use in creating a thoughtful homemade gift.

Gift Experiences

Not all gifts have to be physical items. You can simplify the holidays (and clutter) by giving your loved ones experiences they would enjoy. Whether it’s a manicure, horseback riding lessons, a trip to the movies, skydiving, or a family retreat, experiences may be the most cherished and lasting gifts you can give.

Gift Exchange Ideas

There are many ways to divvy up the gift-giving. Drawing names, white elephant, a rotating gift box, treasure hunt, choosing themed gifts, using wish lists—there are a myriad of options. If your family is open to it, you might even forgo a family gift exchange and instead pool your resources together for a family experience (as mentioned above), or donate your gift money to charity.

Simplifying gift-giving can actually make your holiday celebrations more meaningful, not less. As you and your family figure out your favorite ways to simplify gift-giving, you’ll find that it’s one of the best ways to keep holiday stress at bay, develop new traditions, focus on what’s important, and create memories together.