Holiday Gifting Giving Hacks to Save You Stress, Time, and Money


Holidays can be a time of excitement and joy connecting with friends and family, but it also can be a time of added stress as we struggle to fit holiday celebrations, preparations, and gift buying into an already busy schedule.

We feel the stress of meeting expectations and worry over the extra spending that accompanies holiday fun and gift-giving.

Gift giving has become a huge part of holiday celebrations, and it’s also become an enormous source of holiday stress.

All of this holiday stress can sap the happy out of Happy Holidays.

One way to crank back on holiday stress is to find creative ways to make gift giving less of a chore and more of a joy.

Here are a few holiday gift giving hacks that can save you stress, time, and money.

Holiday gift giving hacks

Rethink gift giving

Some embark on a weeks-long quest for the perfect “thing” to wrap up for their loved ones.

Others are so overwhelmed by the prospect of finding the “right thing” that they avoid the process altogether until the very last minute.  Then they are left to buy something, anything and risk feeling the guilt of disappointing their loved ones.

Gift giving doesn’t have to be this way.

At its core, gift-giving is an act of thoughtfulness, so take a few minutes to think about those for whom you are buying.

You may find that some of the most thoughtful gifts might not be wrapped in a box with a bow after all.

Given the craziness of daily life, time is at a premium.  Why not consider giving gifts that allow your loved ones to spend their precious time joyfully, creatively, peacefully?  

Gifts of experiences

Take that special someone to a concert, a game, a cooking class, a ski day.

The time you save shopping and wrapping can be better spent enjoying an outing together.  Plus, the excursion is an enriching (hopefully de-stressing), memory-making experience for you both.  A win-win.

Give the gift of reduced stress

The hubbub of the holidays ratchets up, and as the new year approaches, you may be trying to identify practical resolutions that will help you or other family members de-stress in the new year.

Instead of another sweater, why not choose a gift that re-captures time and/or reduces stress, providing a lasting benefit.

Gift of meal prep service or cleaning

Cooking and cleaning can be a significant weekly time suck.

Gifting these services would be a great way to give someone back some time and peace of mind.

Give the gift of health

There’s nothing more important than health, both body and spirit.

Gift of relaxation

Time for a massage or other spa treatments are luxurious, but also stress-relieving, rejuvenating, and support good health.

Gift of fitness

A trial gym membership or a series of yoga or spin classes could be a welcome gift for someone who wants to start a fitness routine but just hasn’t made the leap. Better yet, offer to go too!

Gift of a full heart

Perhaps you have someone on your gift list with a huge heart that is always looking for ways to help others.

The holidays are the perfect time to tap into that instinct.

Why not gift a donation in his/her name to a charitable organization that your loved one feels passionately about?

Give the gift of sheep, pigs, goats, chickens to help impoverished families for only $40-50.

Give the gift of clean drinking water to struggling families around the world or donate to our national park service.

The possibilities are endless.

Just have to have something to wrap to celebrate the festival of lights or stick under the tree?

You can still shop wisely and save money by signing up for a price match app.

You probably don’t have time or patience to watch for price drops and contact retailers on your own to request refunds; however, there are price match apps out there to do the work for you, like Paribus.

Paribus is a free app that tracks price drops and initiates your refunds for you.  You get the savings without the hassle!

If you have done some shopping, or want to wrap up little notes or certificates for your more experiential gifts listed above, you still can save time and money on gift wrapping.

Re-imagine gift wrapping

Some of us absolutely LOVE wrapping gifts, spending hours and many dollars accumulating lavish papers, ribbons, and tags.

However, for some, gift wrap is a massive waste of time, money, and natural resources, since the wrapping typically gets shredded on opening and sent straight to the bin.

Luckily, there are ways to wrap a gift beautifully without the expense or waste.  You just need to get a little creative and/or resourceful.

Here are a few tricks to save on gift wrapping:

An inexpensive multi-pack of cute tea towels or linen napkins can become instant gift wrap for a wine bottle,  jar of preserves, or other smaller gift. Plus, your recipient has a new towel to spruce up his/her kitchen or napkin to line a bread basket.

Speaking of baskets, if they are collecting in your closet, put them to use.  Instead of buying another gift bag, tuck gifts into a basket with some tissue or maybe those towels or napkins we talked about.

Shipping paper or paper bags.

Have plain brown shipping paper, paper bags or even freezer paper in the house?

They work just fine for minimalist gift wrap, and, of course, if you’re artsy and crafty, it does double-duty as money-saver and de-stressing “me time.”

Turn them into custom gift wrap with a few colorful markers, paints, or stamps. And if you’re not too artsy but the kids need an activity while you do other things, let the kids decorate.

Decorative cookie tins can stand in for gift wrap.

Last year’s holiday cards can be cut to become gift tags.

Save a tree, reuse gift wrap and tissue.  You don’t need a frugal grandmother to see sense in re-using gift wrap, gift bags, and tissue. Save a tree, time, money, and gas running to the store for more gift wrap.

By putting a little more thought into how you are gift giving, you can reduce your stress, save precious time and money, and feel proud of the well-chosen gifts you are sharing with loved ones.

This holiday and year around, time is a treasured resource that we need to protect carefully.

To learn more about how to better use and organize your time to maximize your productivity, and integrate your professional and personal life, and manage stress, visit to explore the DayPlanner app.

Ann Brennan