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6 Stress-Free Ways to Show You Care This Holiday Season

As soon as it gets close to the holidays, there is enormous societal pressure to make sure that you impress your family and friends with exceedingly lovely, thoughtful gifts. Usually bought and depending on how many people one needs to shop for, you may feel extra stress instead of that holiday cheer.

Gifts are fantastic and can be a way to show our family and friends that we love them, but if you’re like a lot of us, and are feeling stressed and pressured to either spend money you don’t have or buy gifts for someone just because they bought you one, maybe it’s time to think outside that gift-wrapped box.

Here at Young Hot & Modern, we’d love to give you the gift of knowledge and learn that there are alternatives to the traditional gift for all of your loved ones this year. 

Take it from us—after many spent last year apart—it’s spending time together that is the real gift during the holidays. So, don’t stress and check out our suggestions to have a more carefree holiday season.

  1. 1. Bake cookies, prepare dinner, or other special treats.

Showing a loved one that you care doesn’t always have to be about the price point. It’s the act of creating something you know they’ll enjoy. And one of the best ways to show your love is through food. Baking cookies is already a tradition in many households around the holidays, but you don’t have to stop there. Cook dinner and take it to friends and family who you know don’t get to have a home-cooked meal often. Or if you know someone’s favorite dish, make it for them. Feed your loved ones and you will never go wrong. 

2. Gift lessons, activities, or trips.

For some people, cooking or baking isn’t even remotely in their wheelhouse. This is understandable. Definitely embrace your strengths and if cooking isn’t one of them, then you may want to give the gift of experiences. There are so many outlets that utilize experiences rather than gifts. It can be something that you share together like booking an Airbnb or something just for the recipient like guitar lessons. Either way, it’s more personal, intimate and it shows that you took the time to think of what would bring them joy. 

3. Throw a party with good food, music, drinks and games.

Simplicity is a stress killer. Throw a low-key get-together with friends. Don’t want to cook? Make it a potluck. Gathering loved ones together and hosting can take the edge off for so many of your friends and family members. Add music and good food to share, maybe even some games and you’ve got yourself a good time. And you’ve “gifted” an experience for so many people at one time.

4. Initiate a Secret Santa or White Elephant party.

You can really put your stamp on this regurgitated activity whether you decide to do it with family, friends, or coworkers. You can choose a theme, make a price limit, but most importantly, have fun with it. It takes the pressure off of so many who may feel like they have to give something to every single one of their coworkers or family members. Reset the “rules” for gift-giving in any circle with this classic setup.

5. Get crafty and make something.

This could be the most challenging of all, but it is most likely to stand the test of time. Whether you want to host a craft night and make something with your friends, there are an array of simple ornament crafts out there that don’t require a lot of talent. And usually, these types of gems are treasured for years and years because they are something tangible that the recipient can hold on to. Think felt, glue, maybe even some glitter. Check out Pinterest, Etsy, or even head to your nearest Michaels, and you can gift something truly unique that your loved ones will remember.

6. Share an activity or meal.

This may seem similar to number 2, but with a lower price point. Who says you have to spend any money? If there is someone you want to gift an experience to, but find you don’t have the funds this year, maybe have someone over and get take-out or cook together and then watch a Die Hard marathon. These types of nights may seem mundane at first, but they can be as personal and as unique as you’d like them to be, and all they cost you is your time.

Regardless of what you are doing this year for the holidays, we at Young, Hot & Modern hope you can utilize the gift of togetherness this year after so many long months without being able to be with friends and loved ones. 

Happy Holidays! And if you think we missed any great ideas for alternatives to typical gifts, please tweet with the hashtag #yhmholiday.

Steph Sutorius

Steph Sutorius is Senior Editor at Young Hot & Modern and an entertainment writer at Atlanta Black Star. She has been a freelance writer for over 10 years in addition to becoming a full-time parent during the Covid-19 pandemic. She enjoys movies, reading, yoga, cooking, and spending time with her family (and cats).