Instant Relief for the Pressure of Gift-Giving

October 23, 2015  
Filed under Blogs


Without a doubt, autumn is my favorite season of the year. When the calendar flips to November, I know that the greatest show on Earth is in full release. The spectacle of autumn never fails to take my breath away.

In the midst of all of the joy and beauty of autumn, it’s easy to ignore another season that arrived at just about the same time. I’m talking about the year’s biggest gift-giving season — the season that makes us hope that if we ignore it hard enough, it will go away — which is about the best definition for procrastination that I’ve ever heard. I can promise you it will not work.

Choosing to not think about the gift-giving aspect of Christmas and Hanukkah until later — much later — will not do one thing to make it go away. The longer you wait, the harder, more pressure-filled and infinitely more expensive it will be for you.

START NOW. The best way to relieve the pressure of the holidays is to get started early. If you’re going to make your gifts, let’s get going! And if you’ll be buying gifts, start now. Try to buy two gifts a week — or on some other schedule that works well for you.

SET A BUDGET. You know how much money you have to spend. Make a decision right now that no matter what, you will not exceed that amount — even if that means making gifts, or perhaps even foregoing gifts this year in favor of a special greeting card in which you have written a heartfelt and personal message to the recipient. The goal is to put the brakes on using your future income to cover your current needs and gifting desires. That’s never a good idea.

LOOK FOR VALUE. To give you a little nudge and to get your creative juices flowing — and to show you that the price of a gift does not necessarily its value make — I’ve put together a gift guide of fantastic gift ideas at prices that might knock you out — if the colors of autumn have not done that already. You’ll find that list at — whether you take a look at my list or come up with one of your own, remember that it’s not the amount of money you spend, but the message your gift conveys to that special person in your life that matters.

What I love is that regardless of what you do in response to this column, I’ve already accomplished my goal of getting you to start thinking about your holiday gift giving. Now just try to get that out of your mind!

I’ve seen Paris in April, California in summer. I’ve been to the top of the Alps and witnessed an eclipse of the moon over Yosemite’s Half Dome. Of all the beauty I’ve been blessed in my life to see, nothing compares the beauty of autumn in New England. In mid-October that is exactly where I was — free of holiday pressure and ready to take it all in, one spectacular view after another until the show closes for yet another year.            Would you like more information? Log on to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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