Skip to content

    Health & Balance

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    How to Shake 'Holiday Gift' Anxiety

    Experts share tips for avoiding anxiety during the holiday gift-giving season.

    The Creative Approach continued...

    Don't get competitive. "So many people feel like they need to buy an expensive gift for someone because last year the person bought them an expensive gift, and this year they need to make up for it," says Jenn Berman, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. who specializes in family therapy.

    "Or they're competing with a family member who always buys expensive gifts." Either way, it's a recipe for holiday disaster. Give because you want to make someone happy, not because you want to win.

    The Receiving End

    The act of receiving gifts is also an art, and admittedly, some of us are much better at it than others. While one person cringes when they open a badly wrapped fruit cake from Aunt Matilda, another jumps for joy -- even though it's moldy. But keep in mind, the holidays are never perfect, and neither are all of the gifts you'll open.

    "Most people feel a lot of pressure to give the perfect gift, create the perfect holiday, and make every holiday like a Norman Rockwell painting," Berman tells WebMD. "But the truth is that the realities of the holidays are imperfect, and if you can accept the imperfections of the holidays, you can relax and enjoy them more."

    Unwanted Gifts

    When you get a gift and it meows and hisses, a la the Griswold family in the movie Christmas Vacation, here are tips on how to handle it well:

    Simply smile. "Whatever you get, simply say, 'I'm so glad you were thinking of me and it means so much to me that you took the time and effort to pick this out and it's wonderful,'" says Robinson.

    When you're empty handed. "The hard thing is to accept a gift when you haven't gotten something for the person who gave you one," says Robinson. "So you respond with, 'It's really wonderful, you're such a generous person. I didn't expect this and thank you so much.' Resist the urge to go out and make it even-steven -- that's not what it's about."

    When you really don't like it. "Miss Etiquette would tell you if it's the wrong size, it doesn't fit, it's the wrong color, don't ask 'Where did you get it so I can return it?'" says Robinson. "I think that is all pretty rude. You thank them for what they did and you appreciate it. If you're going to take it back, don't mention it and don't make them feel inadequate for it."

    Today on WebMD

    woman in yoga class
    6 health benefits of yoga.
    beautiful girl lying down of grass
    10 relaxation techniques to try.
     
    mature woman with glass of water
    Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
    coffee beans in shape of mug
    Get the facts.
     
    Take your medication
    Slideshow
    Hand appearing to hold the sun
    Article
     
    Hungover man
    Slideshow
    Welcome mat and wellington boots
    Slideshow
     
    Woman worn out on couch
    Article
    Happy and sad faces
    Quiz
     
    Fingertip with string tied in a bow
    Article
    laughing family
    Quiz