Ahhh….mazing Gifts to Soothe Stress

three young friends having coffeeSo, you’ve made your list, checked it twice, but still don’t know what to get for your closest friend? Between a rocky relationship and late nights at work, you know the last few months have been stressful for her. A soothing gift may be just the ticket, especially during a busy holiday season. Read on for some ideas to relieve her stress.

Thrifty yet thoughtful

During the holidays, it’s easy to feel pressured into spending more than you wanted to on a gift. Ads hint that the amount we spend on a gift is a measure of how much we care about someone. And sometimes, we feel the need to reciprocate after receiving a pricey gift.

But overspending can cause stress. Before you treat your friend to a hot stone massage at that new spa, consider this: A gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to be meaningful. In fact, of the best gifts you’ve received, chances are it’s the handmade ones that still floor you. The cozy blanket your mom spent hours knitting. The vibrant, hand-painted teacup from your sister. You can find scores of tutorials online for stress-relieving do-it-yourself gifts – from scented eye pillows to fabric heating pads. (Try searching for “DIY spa” or “handmade spa.”)

Pressed for time? Skip the long lines and crowds and buy these affordable stress relievers online instead:

  • Assorted teas with a unique mug
  • Book of local walking trails or pedometer
  • Handheld massager
  • Colorful flower pot with seed packet
  • Soothing sound machine
  • Eyemask, lavender oil and candles
  • Annual pass to a national/state park
  • Bubble bath and bath puff
  • Fleece blanket
  • Watercolor/oil painting set
  • Anti-stress neck pillow
  • Meditation cushion or a yoga mat; or a meditation, tai chi or yoga video
  • Gratitude journal
  • Trio of funny videos and popcorn
  • Lava lamp or tabletop fountain
  • Flannel sheets or pajamas
  • Memory foam slippers or plush bath robe

A site such as Etsy (www.etsy.com), a trove of one-of-a-kind handmade gifts, may be a good place to start. You may also be able to find online deals through websites such as Retail Me Not (www.retailmenot.com).

A priceless gift

One of the best gifts you can give someone is your time. Does your friend love the ocean? Pack a picnic and explore a hidden beach together. Does she rarely eat out? Give her a break from cooking by whipping up her favorite meal. Is she adventurous? Take a spontaneous road trip to an outdoor hot spring.

Bottom line: If your friend has been stressed, chances are she will enjoy time together or a gift that helps her relax. But keep your perspective when it comes to gift-giving. Searching for that perfect – and often pricey – gift may only create stress for you.

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