As much as possible, simplify the stresses related to giving gifts during the holidays. Many families today feel overwhelmed by the pressure to give so many gifts that they end up overspending and paying for the gifts well into the new year. One way to reduce the financial stress of gift-giving is to set a budget for the people you’ll give gifts to this year, and then make sure you stick with it. Another idea is to talk with your family members about scaling back on the number of gifts or doing a gift exchange so that each person only buys a gift for one other person.

Gift-giving also can be stressful when people feel pressure to find the “perfect” gift for everyone on their list. If this is true for you, try to change your expectation from finding the perfect gift to finding something that is thoughtful and meaningful. Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect to mean a lot to the person who will receive your gift!

Finally, gift-giving also becomes stressful when your list grows long, and it takes time to find gifts for everyone on the list. Whenever possible, consider ways to simplify your list, such as getting multiple gifts from the same store, ordering items online to avoid the extra time of going to the store, or gifting the same type of item to different people on your list, especially people who aren’t as close to you, such as our children’s teachers and your colleagues. This holiday season, try to recapture the joy in giving gifts by minimizing the stressors involved in the process.

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