The Holidays, 
Ready or Not Here They've Come. 

Photo Source: Etsy

For many the Holiday/Winter season is the most stressful time of the year, instead of the most wonderful. Especially for people, like myself, who have just hit the work force and have decided to buy people gifts. Basically, I'm trying to (1)decrease your stress, by (2) giving you my own simple tips and gifts for Holiday shopping.

TIP #1: Set budgets, and stick to them. One massive budget, the most you can spend on gifts entirely, and individual budgets for the people you're buying for. 

Beauty Bundle: Perfect for friends that love to pamper & prep themselves. Lightly load up on face masks, lotions, nail polish's, hair treatments, and all that stuff. To make it extra cute (and more affordable) check out the travel sized stuff at your local Walmart, Target, ULTA, and Sephora! Everything with be cheaper, but of the same quality. ALSO: Right now, buy anything at Sephora's site and get 3 free samples of some top notch products. Great for this kind of gift.

Bath Bombs: Have a friend that loves baths and Tumblr? Get 'em one of these! Though the name sucks, they're pretty great. You can check out LUSH (the mother-ship of bath bomb's, where prices start around 4 dollars) or look into Etsy or Target

Art Packs: Buy/Find some colored pencils, two small paint brushes, one or two small bottles of acrylic paint, and a glass jar or bottle. Fit the items into the bottle/jar, write a note to your friend, stick it on the side, and wrap it up! You could also paint the bottle, possibly with a design/colors they'd like, but either way it's a very cute and fun gift!

Clothes: Can't go wrong with a nice shirt, sweater, or dress (so long as you know your friends size). I can not stress enough how great Forever21 is for Holiday shopping. They have a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff, and cater to all different styles. Online you can go to any category and organize by price from lowest to highest. Also, if you don't hate this store with a passion, Brandy Melville offers some cute tops and tanks for semi-low prices.  

Jewelry: If you're looking for a bunch of cute jewelry for a pal, go to Forever21, but if you're looking for 1 or 2 nice things, I'd look to Urban Outfitters and Etsy shops. At both you'll find alot of cute/trendy pieces for ranging prices.

TIP #2: Sign up for email alerts from stores you and your friends like! You'll get word of sales, clearances, restocks, etc., which will (hopefully) put you ahead of the game and save you tons.

Accessories: Scarfs??? Hats??? Mittens?? Gloves???? Bags??? Socks???? All extremely cute gift ideas, especially for this season! Urban Outfitters always dishes out a great mix of winter apparel (check sale), but so does Target, Forever 21, and Marshall's! Since most of the time these items are knit, I'd recommend buying them in store so you don't get a ripped or uncomfortable one.

Knick-Knacks: BEFORE ORDERING ANYTHING ONLINE, CHECK OUT MARSHALL'S. Seriously. Yes, hot-trendy stores (like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Etc.) offer a lot of cute stuff and they make you feel like you're getting the deal of a life time... But you're not. Usually Marshall's has alot of knick-knacks (some holiday themed, some not) for under $10.

Candles: Okay, yes, candles can be sorta boring, and they're often the go to gift for this season... But, they still fucking rock! They look nice, smell nice, and provide heat; How could that ever get old??? It can't, especially when you pair it with a pair of mittens or a nice book! Check out Target, Stop & Shop, and Bed Bath + Beyond before going to Yankee Candle.

TIP #3: Don't let the commercials fool you into thinking you need to spend 100's of dollars to have a happy holiday. Yes, the gifts are nice; But the people you're sharing them with are what matter. One small, meaningful gift is worth Twenty large, useless ones.

Music: If your friend is a music lover, show them how much you know them: Get them a CD, some merch they don't have, or even concert tickets (some bands have tickets for less than 20 dollars, always check bands in town to see who's coming near you). Or make them a personalized playlist on 8-Tracks, Sound Cloud, or on a real CD/Hard Drive.

Stars: Have a close friend who likes space? Get them a necklace with a star on it, and buy them a star. This can be a bit more pricy (as the quality sites, like cost around 40 dollars), but there are ways around it! Instead, you google facts about stars, about the planets, about our universe, etc, write them all in a small notebook or journal (w a few drawings or print out pictures).

Personalized Coupon Book: Have very little to no money, but want to give your friends something? First off, do not feel guilty. Times get tough, and you should not beat your self up just because those times fell around the holidays. Instead, make your friends a coupon book for them to cash in later. EX"I'll pay for everything" coffee/lunch coupon.  EX: "Any day, Any time" free ride coupon. (Good for friends who get drunk/stranded a lot, the ones you worry about). EX: "Netflix and Cuddle" let's hang out and chill, but not in that way. 

TIP #4: In the wise words of Parks & Rec's darling Tom Haverford, "Treat Yo' Self!" In theory being selfless is beautiful, but in action: It sucks. Don't let yourself suffer (physically, mentally, or materialistically) out of fear of being greedy or of not getting the best gift. Any friend who chooses a cool gift over your well-being is no friend.

- Carly Pierce, ig: @l.uhvie