Here we are again, in a ricochet between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah (and if you have a spouse or sweetheart, on to Valentine’s Day). If you are like me and most of my friends, part of your copious spare time is spent making mental or written lists of what you want to give to whom. The commercial world counts on your feeling guilty enough to buy something for everyone you have ever met in your life – or at least, that’s what it feels like sometimes.

Of course there is nothing wrong with buying presents; it certainly gives you a wider range of possibilities, and can save a lot of time. However, the most satisfying gifts come from the heart, from your time and energy, skills and talents, from your desire to connect with and please the people who are important in your life. So here are some ways to lighten your load, hopefully in time to lessen your shopping stress.

1. Make, don’t buy. Personally, I like giving crafts or food. What do you love to create? Do you like to knit, crochet, quilt, do paper crafts, mount photographs, or create ceramics? Your friends will value the time and effort you took to consider their tastes, and that matters more than making perfect objects. Also, if you are doing what you love, then you have fun in the creation, and the positive energy clings to everything you give.

2. Make it easy on yourself: duplicate. Even if you make the exact same item for six people, they are never going to compare notes anyway. For instance, I’m a knitter, so in August I choose one scarf pattern, and I make about eight scarves in different colors. Because each is the same pattern, I get faster every time; different colors mean that each one is actually unique and tailored to the receiver.

3. Double or treble your quantities. Food is another great holiday gift, because it can be shared, and most items can also be stored until the person is ready for them – to cheer themselves up in March, for instance. If you’re in creative mode, it’s just as easy to make two, three or four times your usual batch, and then you are ready for all contingencies.

4. Start as early as you possibly can. That’s easy with crafts, and with a bit of planning you can do it with food as well. For instance, every winter I make steamed puddings that I distribute the following Christmas. By then I have completely forgotten the effort involved, and can give them out as if they had just dropped out the sky and into my fridge. The same is true of jam, or any baked goods (like cookies or stollen) that can be frozen until you’re ready for them. There’s a lot to be said for making gifts in August; that way, you can get most of your creating out of the way before the holiday season starts with all its added stress.

5. Be organized. Sit down in September, and write out your list of gifts and recipients. Keep a copy on your computer and mark off each name as you finish that person’s gift. It will give you a real sense of accomplishment with less anxiety around getting everything done in time.

Giving is reciprocal; the recipients may or may not give you presents in return, but they will always give you something back in terms of their gratitude, pleasure and recognition that you have spent your precious time and ingenuity thinking about them and their tastes, desires or needs. So make it easy on yourself, and you may never have to go holiday shopping again!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Kyre Adept is a human programming coach bringing spirit into business. Her practice ART of Integration helps high-flyers all over the world create their delicious lives. Find out how human reprogramming can help you soar! Sign up now for your free strategy session at