Did you read the post over on Crafty Pod about maximizing joy and reducing stress when making gifts? I kind of loved it.
I hate shopping at big box stores and it feels easier (in October) to make most of my gifts for everyone. But I always end up stressing in the middle of December trying to finish everything off to go in the mail so that it arrives in time.
Making lists helps me a lot. I'm a list maker. This year I started early (gasp) and I've been working on bits and pieces of gifts each week. Sometimes though I'm just not motivated to work on that project when I plan to though. So it helps to have my list to look at to see what else I could be working on.
I also think I'm going to go back over my list and see who may not be interested in receiving a handmade gift. Not everyone does. Or maybe even the projects that I'm not that excited about. The trick for me is to substitute them with purchases from places that I want to support like local small businesses and etsy shops. I'm planning to hit up a few places participating in Little Boxes the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving here in Portland.
In the last few years we've trimmed our gift list too. Just close family (with a few exceptions) get actual presents from us. Grandparents, other extended family we're close to, and some friends receive a card, ornament and/or cookies.
Note: The photo is from the Elli Blog and is some of my favorite free printable wrapping paper.