UNITED STATES—The holidays can be a stressful time of the year, but I’ve come to realize that Christmas might top the list.  What is it about this festive holiday where the good in everyone comes out, creates such a heightened level of stress?

Well it’s our belief in aiming for perfection. We have come to acknowledge the holiday as one where gifts are at the forefront. I think to a degree that is a mistake. Christmas is about spending time with family; the gifts are just extra perks along the way.

The idea of shopping for the perfect gift is a gimmick, because precisely what does that mean? Is it how big it is, how small it is, or how much it cost? Those are all factors that we think about day in and day out. I’m a believer that you give from the heart, but at the same time, I prefer to have an idea of what a person might ask for.

When I say this, this is geared towards children. When it comes to adults, I consider what a person wants, but don’t bank on getting that super expensive or bulky gift you want. Why? Well you’re an adult, and in my eyes Christmas is about kids, it’s about giving and it’s about being grateful. I’m not a fan of people giving gifts to people of things ‘they’ want them to have.

You might be asking precisely what do you mean? It’s where someone goes out of there way to get you something ‘they’ want you to have, not something you may have been asking for. Does this come across as a bit ungrateful, absolutely, but no one wants to be that person whose gift is never opened or used.

There are plenty of ways to decrease the chaos of gift giving. First, make a list. Have a list of the people you plan to purchase gifts for. In addition, you should not overdo it. People sometimes try to hard to purchase a bevy of gifts they can’t afford. Don’t break your bank for gifts. Do what you can and leave it at that.

The credit card could get you in major trouble if you don’t have a plan and consider its ok to buy from the heart and not with the intention of impressing the world. Yes, many of us do this more often than we’d like to acknowledge which becomes quite problematic.

Trust me some of the smallest gifts can be some of the most appreciative gifts from the people you know. Consider things they like, things they have informed you they’d like. Don’t ever ask someone to tell you “one thing you really want.” That opens the door for disappoint because what if you can’t find that item. Always ask for at least three things they would love to have. This way you have options and it gives you the opportunity to surprise them. They’ll never quite know what they’ll get.

Remember Christmas is supposed to be fun, not stressed, so take it easy. Enjoy the snow, the parties and the time spent with family.