I’ll tell you a secret: I usually finish Christmas shopping by September.
Yup! As someone with bipolar disorder, I need to manage my stress and Christmas is one of those holidays which looks amazing on cards and in concept, but in reality places A LOT of stress on mamas. We need to shop, cook, prepare the home, host, create magical memories for the kids, organize parties and get-togethers, etc., etc. All on top of our daily jobs and taking care of our families.
This habit started on our last Christmas in Berlin. We were leaving Germany for good by the next January and I knew that I wanted to enjoy one last magical German Christmas. To be able to do so, I started packing for our move early, but I also bought AND WRAPPED WITH GIFT TAGS (this is crucial!) all our Christmas gifts by September. I then put all the wrapped gifts in shallow boxes, and closed them. When December came, I just opened up the boxes and the gifts were READY. It’s important to store them properly so that they don’t get dusty or dirty.
I continued the tradition in Manila because this metropolis is super crazy about Christmas. I mean, over-the-top-crazy! It is so commercialized, that the traffic is unbelievable. Normal Manila traffic is already bad, but come Christmas it’s basically impossible.
So one of my secrets to a less stressful and more blissful Christmas, is finishing shopping and wrapping by September. This way I can focus on enjoying my time with loved ones, instead of panic shopping with the crowds in December.
BIG BONUS: It’s also easier on the wallet to shop ahead. You get better gifts for your money – whether you have a big or small budget. I’ll admit this year is super tight for us, as we struggle with the expenses for my husband’s cancer treatments, so I am grateful for any savings.
TRAVEL ESSENTIALS MNL PRIVATE SALE
Thank goodness for their Annual Private Sale (usually done at the end of August), I am able to get all of my shopping done in one go. Though this is done already, you can still get in touch with them to have personalized items done. I love the high quality of the items and these were my favorites this year. I think anyone receiving these gifts – whether they are personalized or not – will be very appreciative of how thoughtful they are. When we buy things that are not only useful, but beautiful too, we add to the joy of our everyday lives. Even mundane acts like charging your phone, or combing your hair becomes a daily ritual and delight.
Remember most of the items can be monogrammed or personalized (and come in various colors), however you can also give it as is. I think the latter is more sustainable, because that means it can be passed down without worry, however nothing beats the thrill of receiving something made specially for you, so you decide!
Monogrammed Wooden Comb + Charging caddy
sustainable bamboo speakers
Fan with Case
Travel Caddy + Luggage Tag + Passport Holder
Various-sized Cord Organizers
Reducing Holiday Stress Tips
- One of the things that can be quite stressful is when we buy too many, or forget which item is for whom. However when you wrap the item and place names on the gifts tags, then note down your gifts on a worksheet, there is no more room to change your mind.
- Use an worksheet like Excel or Numbers to write down your Christmas list and budget. It’s easy to update and keep on your phone. Next year, you can duplicate the same worksheet and update the gifts, without worry of giving the same gifts. The gift budget is also easily computed, when you do this.
- Since the name is already there for personalized items, you can even reduce your footprint, be more sustainable and zero waste, by just tying a bow and giving the item personally. No need to wrap!
- Reducing waste is something that I worry about during the holidays, so I try as much as possible not to use plastic tape on paper wrappers. I use instead washi tape and use as little as possible (it is possible to only use 3pcs of tape to wrap a box). This make it possible for recipients to reuse the wrapping material, instead of it going straight to the trash or landfill.