How to Make the Holidays Less Stressful, Less Expensive, and More Enjoyable!

How to Make the Holidays Less Stressful, Less Expensive, and More Enjoyable!


Happy Saturday! Since we are on the cusp of the holiday season I thought I would share some mom hacks/tips/insider secrets for making the holidays less stressful so you can focus on the more meaningful parts of the holiday (which is what it’s all about, right?!). Plus, a few Saturday sales.

Y’all I cannot believe DoSayGive’s Holiday Gift Guide launches on Monday. It is such a labor of love and a blessing to me to be able to share with y’all the most thoughtful, beautiful gifts to show your family and friends how much you love them. It means so much that y’all trust me to do that! Family and friends are the reason behind so many of our holiday “to-dos” so don’t let the “to dos” get you down/stressed/miserable. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years as well as a few tips for shopping the best gifts and deals. And I’m not putting “Shop online” because I think everyone knows that’s the best way to go these days!

1. Plan holiday outings – Carriage rides, Gaylord Ice, Northpark Trains, in Dallas there is so much to do during the holidays! (See this post for our faves) But it’s tempting to go overboard with the holiday fun. So we choose one or two fun holiday outings and book those now. You might get a deal for booking early. Either way, booking now means less money you have to spend in the expensive month of December. Plus, having things on your calendar helps the temptation to overcommit.

2. Have Your Children Make Their Wish List Now – While it’s fun to take letters to Santa to the Macy’s special mailbox that last week before Christmas, it is NOT fun to realize that nothing you bought so far mentioned in their letters;). So have them write their letters now so (hopefully) you can buy what they want on sale during Cyber Week, or at least get those items checked off your list early. You will also have ideas on hand when grandparents/aunts/uncles text asking for ideas. Oh and tell them once they mail it Santa they can’t change their minds. Santa doesn’t have email;).

3. Decide on a gifting plan – Talk to in-laws and decide if y’all are exchanging gifts or doing a Secret Santa Also, determine out how much you wan to gift your children. A few ideas/traditions that friends use:

  • Give your children three gifts to represent the three gifts that the Wise men gave baby Jesus
  • Give them something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.
  • Give a few meaningful, lasting gifts under the tree and fill up their stockings with the little junky toys.

4. Shop Early – If you’ve done #2, this will be easy. Not only will it free up more time in December, but often the year’s hot toys and popular items are difficult to find after Black Friday. Oh and I’ve learned from years past: buy your matching holiday pajamas earlier than later. They tend to sell out. I just got some from Smocked Auctions (I like that they have big kid sizes which is nice), Hannah Andersson has adorable ones as does Target this year.

5. Keep a running list of gifts you start buying – If you sign up for DoSayGive’s email list you get a FREE darling gift checklist printable to help you think about all the people you need to buy for (including those in the service industry). I will do that and then will keep a running list on my phone’s Notes app of gifts that I buy so I don’t overbuy or duplicate. (There are a ton of gift list apps out there but I just don’t need another app to remember!).

6. {Try to} Budget – Honestly, though, does anyone actually keep their holiday budget!? It’s hard because there are always things that pop up last minute. So if you do a budget make sure to leave some wiggle room. A few things to help:

  • Consider putting aside $25/$50/$100 in an envelope every week until December so you have a stash of cash for those last minute gifts, random coach and teacher group gifts, and requests for charitable donations from friends and school.
  • My mom always kept a gallon size Ziploc bag for her holiday receipts in her top kitchen desk drawer so she could easily add up how much she spent at any time and also it made for easy returns after Christmas.
  • When I don’t see the gifts on a regular basis I forget about them and buy again. That’s why #5 is helpful. You might also add in your NOTES app where you hide the gifts;).

7. Download money-saving browser apps – Speaking of saving money, Honey will send you a message when you are in a store’s checkout page and give you codes it found on the web – genius! When you are looking at a product online, Invisible Hand will send you a notification that there is a better deal somewhere else. Stores are constantly changing their deals during the holidays so this is a great way to keep up to date. SlickDeals will alert you when an item you want is on sale.

8. Follow your favorite local stores online – I do so much shopping on Instagram from random cute children’s and specialty stores I follow on Instagram. (Mayfair on the Square in Oxford, MS is one!). It’s kind of dangerous really to just type “Want” under a cute item and get it, but it’s so easy to get the items you want without having to put one more thing on your errand list. The store will send you an invoice you can pay with your cc online and then will ship it to you. They might even offer free local delivery or curbside service during the holidays. Many offer Instagram only deals so it’s worth the follow. And it’s a great way to support small businesses!

9. FREE membership to Amazon Prime during peak holiday season – If you don’t have Amazon Prime you are missing a way to make your life so much easier – same day and two day shipping saves me so many time-consuming, traffic-fighting errands. And I will buy many gifts on Amazon. Consider doing their FREE 30-day trial during these peak shopping times and better Black Friday deals. (Be sure you are on DoSayGive’s email list to get the best deals in your inbox!)

10. Bookmark DoSayGive’s Holiday Gift Guide for the BEST gifts, holiday sales, and special traditions. Ask any longtime DoSayGive reader and they will tell you that DoSayGive has the most thorough, well-researched, and unique gift guides on the web. And for everyone on your list. Children, Clients, Teachers, Neighbors, etc. Plus, huge sale guides during Cyber Week. I will also being doing several Facebook Live sessions about topics like holiday in-law etiquette, special family traditions, and classic Christmas books for children. And Instagram Live sessions where I give suggestions for your hard to shop for family members. Sign up for my emails so you don’t miss all this fun content!


To kick off the holiday season I am giving away a $100 Visa Gift gift card! All you have to do to enter is sign up to receive emails from DoSayGive! (Still enter below even if you already receive emails –  you won’t receive duplicates, I promise!).

$100 Visa Gift Card

Weekend Sales:

Old Navy – 30% off online with code WHOA including my camel coat from this post.

LOFT – 40% tops, sweaters, and scarves.

Minted – 15% off holiday cards with code JOY17.

Nordstrom – Up to 40% off fall sale including these jeans I love plus Buy 2, Get 1 Free ANY Mascaras!

J. Crew – 25% off coats and boots.

Hearth & Home at Target – Not a sale but FYI, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Target line launches Sunday!

Happy Weekend!


Shop the Post: 

Sweater (the best!! so soft!)

Jeans (on sale and are my fave fit!)

12 Days Gift Wrapping  paper

 Cheers Y’all Cocktail Napkins




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2 thoughts on “How to Make the Holidays Less Stressful, Less Expensive, and More Enjoyable!

  1. Lots of great ideas here! Last year I used a big zip lock bag as well for my receipts, and it is such a simple idea, but so practical and easy when something has to be returned. Excited to see your gift guides so I can get going! Also- do you have your sweater linked anywhere on your site? Thanks!

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