Survey: Nearly half would rather opt out
A recent survey found nearly half of Americans would opt out of Christmas rather than being stressed about gift buying. About 45 percent of those polled said the holiday season brings so much financial pressure, they would prefer to skip it altogether.
Psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini says set the bar low, find something small and meaningful, and ask what each family member wants.
"The holidays are a family time, they're a time to slow down," says Rapini. "No one should be stressed about buying a gift; it's not about the money."
Rapini says a family vacation, or just playing games, watching movies on Christmas Eve is more meaningful than gifts.
Holiday shopping is particularly stressful on couples. A separate survey found nearly half of all couples say they hate shopping together.
The holidays ranked number four among triggers for arguments – including clothes, food, movies, buying a new car, etc.
Rapini says as with most things, patience is key.
"Black Friday, or shopping in general, is not supposed to be pushing and shoving, it is supposed to be celebrated," she says. "Black Friday is an adventure, you go to people watch, maybe drink some hot chocolate. You wait a few days, that's when you do your real shopping."
Experts suggest shopping online instead, determine whether an item is needed, the cost, color, all of the above before starting out.