The holidays can be whatever you make them. However, most of us get all stressed out about them because of the holiday shopping that needs to be done. There are things that you can do to make your holidays less stressful and more enjoyable. All you need to do is change how you look at shopping, the plans that you make, and how you pull them all together.

Begin as soon as possible.
Many of us laugh when we hear of people starting their holiday shopping really early, but this is a great way to limit the amount of stress that you have in your holidays. If you can start getting ready for the holidays in August that is great. However, it is reasonable to get started in October or early November. It is best if you start long before Black Friday.

The first thing that you need to do is sit down and make a budget. If you have a partner then you should include him or her in on this discussion and take into account what they will want to spend or what they need to buy as well. Make sure that you include all of the people that you will need to buy for in your budget. Consider friends, family members, co-workers, and more as needed.

Make a Plan.
Once you have your budget you will want to sit down and work on a plan. To do this you should write down everyone's name and how much you want to spend on them. Then you will want to think of things that they might like that will cost you about the amount that you have set aside to spend.

Order your List.
It is important that you take the time to order your list. At the top of the list include those that are most important and at the bottom of the list put those that you don't have to buy gifts for if you run out of money. This will make it easier to stick to your budget. If you run out of money you can spend less on those people in the bottom and you can also choose people of less importance to skip as needed.

Start your Shopping.
It is important that you begin your shopping early. While the sales of Black Friday can be appealing there are many things that you can get that aren't likely to be on sale. Only save the items that you will save on for that Friday. By shopping early you can look online, shop at different stores, find coupons, and change your plans. When you shop you should aim for getting one or two people on your list filled. Mark them off as you go. If you see something that someone on your list would like even though you didn't think of it then you should get it if (and only if) it fits in with your budget. If you carry your list around with you then you will always know!

Shop around.
Because you want the best possible gifts for those on your list you should shop around. Take the time to find the best deals and pick out items that fit in your price range. If you need to keep brainstorming possibilities that they will like. You will go a lot farther this way in both your budget and getting great items that they will like.

Get Creative.
Making things for people can be stressful, but if you start early you can enjoy it and avoid the hassle while giving great gifts to people on your list. Even if you aren't crafty you can mix up and make up great gifts for those people lower on your list. Consider baking, putting together small gift baskets, making bath salts, and other easy to do things can make great gifts. Consider taking a coffee cup and adding hand dipped chocolate spoons, a sampling of gourmet coffee, and a fancy creamer sample for the coffee lover or use hot cocoa and do it for the cocoa lover. There are lots of ideas out there for you!

Make adjustments.
When you find yourself overspending for someone important make the necessary changes somewhere else so that you can stick to your budget. While your budget may feel constricting remember that it is important and it will save you stress later. If you spend an extra $20 on your daughter then consider spending less on someone else or consider crossing off one of the less important people on your list. Balance is key.

Take time for You.
Shopping is important as well as all the other holiday things on your list of to do's, but you can't forget you. Most of us get stressed out because we run and we do this and we do that and we are so busy going and going and going that the stress piles up. If you make sure that you take some time for you then you will feel better about life and about the holidays. Take a break from it all. Relax with a cup of cocoa, make time for reading a good book, do crafts that you enjoy, or take a bubble bath. Whatever gets you feeling relaxed, make sure that you do some of it!

Finish your Shopping.
You want to try and stay focused on getting your shopping done. Mark off a couple of people on your list each week. That will allow you to get through the list without any of the shopping becoming overwhelming or frustrating.

Make things Easy.
Easy is definitely less stressful. To make your holiday shopping easy you should get the items for the person, check them off of the list, and then wrap them. Make sure you label them clearly in a way where you don't have to worry about tags falling off and then tuck them away in the closet. This way you are all ready, you have nothing left to worry about, and you can sit back and enjoy your holidays.

By finishing your holiday shopping by the first week in December you will eliminate the last minute stress. When you have a budget, a list, and a plan you will avoid even more stress. Now is the time to take back your holidays. You can enjoy the season. They say it is the season to be jolly and by working through things early and quickly you can do just that!