Tag Archives: holiday stress

Easing Holiday Stress: Step 3 Assign a Dollar Amount

18 Nov

So far, we’ve set a budget and made a list. Well done!! We’re taking small steps to ease the holiday stress. By working along with us, you will have a holiday that is special, within your means and completely enjoyable! (Well, we can’t guarantee the completely enjoyable part since you’ll be surrounded by family, but we can guarantee a less-stressful holiday.)

Step 3: Assign a value to each person on your list.

Yes, it may FEEL like you’re assigning a dollar value based on how much you LOVE the person on your list… but in reality you’re simply making sure that you have money budgeted for the most important people on your list.

So, start at the top of your prioritized list and assign a dollar amount to that person. Then, work your way down the list assigning each person a dollar amount until you run out of your budgeted money.

This may sound like a basic step, but it’s HUGE!! So get busy, decide what you are willing to spend on each person. Good luck 🙂

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Easing Holiday Stress: Step 2. It’s ALL about the list!

10 Nov
As you know, Out of the Blue Delivered‘s mission this season is to Ease the Stress of the Holidays! If you’re working along with us then you have already completed step one which was to Make a Budget! 

Step 2: Make a Prioritized List (and check it twice!)


Though it may seem basic, this is a VERY IMPORTANT step! It’s not only about making a list, but then prioritizing it.

You have a gift budget (thanks to Step 1) and now you need a list of who you will be spending that allocated money on.
Begin by listing everyone that you WANT to buy a gift for. Include anyone that you normally give to: family members, friends, neighbors, nieces, nephews, your kids’ friends, boss, co-workers, nanny, teachers, caregivers, doorman, mailman, etc. Be sure to include any secret-santa or other gift exchanges you are planning to participate in. Also, if you send out holiday cards, be sure they were included in either Step 1 or Step 2.0

Once you have your list, you MUST prioritize it. (Otherwise you’ll run out of money before you get the gifts you REALLY need!) Decide which gift recipients are most important and rewrite your list in descending order starting with the most important recipients at the top and working down to the least important.

Fun tip: Have an iPhone? Of course there’s a Holiday Gift App that can help you make and track your holiday gift list!

Top Tips for Easing Holiday Stress

7 Dec

Top Tips for Easing the Stress of Holiday Giving

30 Nov

The holidays are upon us once again. Does this statement fill your heart with joyful anticipation or do you feel a panic attack coming on? Remember when you were a kid and the holidays were a festive time filled with magic? Somehow, as we grow older, the holiday magic evolves into holiday stress-filled madness.  Let’s stop the madness and bring back the magic! How, you ask? Is it possible in today’s economy? Absolutely!

Here are a few tips to ease the stress and help bring back the magic:

· Set a Budget – First and foremost, you MUST set a budget. Overspending creates most of our holiday stress because we all know that come January, we’re going to have to figure out a way to pay for all the spending we did. So don’t even go there. Look at your financial situation and set a holiday budget. Set an amount for gifts, entertaining, travel and any other expenses you have associated with the holidays.

· Make a prioritized gift list (check it twice J ) – List everyone you want to give to and then prioritize it! Next, allocate what you think is appropriate to spend on each person. Work your way down the list until everyone has been given an amount or until you run out of money. It’s important to reassess the most important people in our lives that we want to do something special for at the holidays.

· Be proactive – There is a good chance that your list will need some trimming. It’s ok. Over the years, as family and friends get married and have children our gift lists can grow exponentially until they are out of control. Too many times we give out of guilt. We know someone is going to give us a gift, so we feel obligated to give them one in return.  Here are a few ways to be proactive:

Tell close friends that you are only giving gifts to immediate family this year and suggest that you spend time together instead of exchanging gifts.

Send an email suggesting that you skip exchanging gifts this year or only give to the kids. Many people are in the same position as you are and will be relieved at your suggestion.

If you have a large extended family suggest that you draw names (sites like elfster.com are fab FREE services that will handle all of this for you including the drawing of names and wish lists)

Suggest that your office adopt a family or do secret santa instead of exchanging with all of your co-workers.

· Embrace the challenge – Instead of stressing about how little you have to spend, accept the challenge of finding something special for the budgeted amount.  Remember, a small thoughtful gift will be more meaningful than a more expensive generic gift. Be sure to include a handwritten note with your gifts. For example, wrap up a trendy $10 cheese slicer with a note that says “You throw the best parties! Whenever I receive an invitation, I know I’m going to have a wonderful evening. Last time I was over, I noticed that someone bent your cheese slicer. So, I thought you might like this one. Looking forward to your next event. “   and viola! You’ve taken your $10 budget and given a personal, meaningful gift. I assure you that every time the recipient puts out your cheese slicer for a party, she will think of you and remember your thoughtfulness.

· Start meaningful traditions – If you take a moment to think about your favorite holiday memories, chances are that they are about special things you did NOT the gifts you received…baking cookies, sledding together, decorating, midnight mass, etc.  Bring back the magic by creating new traditions with your children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren or friends.  The holidays should be about the whole experience, not just one day! Here are examples of traditions you can begin:

My sister and nephew always make hot chocolate, put on their pajamas and drive around to look at lights.

Our favorite family tradition is having a holiday elf visit (Hannukah Helpers available) – check out www.elfingaround.com, www.elf-magic.com , www.annalee.com ,  or Elf on a Shelf

Pull an angel off a tree and shop for a needy child (www.salvationarmy.com)

Go to one of the free festivals around Central Florida and play in the “snow”.

If you’re away from family, make funny videos to send home for the family to view when they are together.

If you’re single, gather other singles and start something fun!

Start a holiday movie night tradition. Pop some popcorn and rent or borrow old movies to watch.

· Re-create stressful holiday tasks – Take the stressful holiday tasks that you dread doing and make them fun. For example, I love sending and receiving holiday cards but dread sitting down to write them all. A few years ago, my friend Karen started a card party tradition. The first weekend in December, she invites about 8 of us over. We all bring our cards plus munchies and we spend the afternoon writing our cards, talking, laughing and eating.  Instead of dreading the task of sending out cards, I now look forward to our annual card party!  Another idea is to have a wrapping party.  Have your friends bring the gifts they need to wrap and their leftover holiday paper. Not only can you have fun doing it together, but you can also recycle paper by sharing it with your friends!

· Use Services that make your life easier – If your budget permits, use companies and services such as Out of the Blue Delivered (www.bluedelivered.com) that allow you to conveniently shop online and that will package, wrap, deliver or ship your gifts for you…definitely eliminating holiday stress!!

Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, remember that this is a time for creating wonderful memories! Take a deep breath and remember the reason you are celebrating and who you are creating the magic for.… and then go enjoy the moments! For all too soon it will be over for another year and after all, we only get a finite number to experience! Happy Holidays!!

by Dawn Veselka