The red cup is back at Starbucks, and you know what that means: the holidays are just around the corner.

Finding gifts for everyone on your list can be enough to put even the most seasoned shopaholic in a bad mood.

And if you traditionally use Thanksgiving as your cue to start shopping, we have bad news: there are only 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019.

And Hanukkah starts on December 22 this year.

Don’t: stress

Hooray! ‘Tis the season for an extra layer of emotion slathered over everything. It may be your first December without a loved one or the annual reminder of rough times with your ex. Family expectations are high, and your mother-in-law still hasn’t forgiven you for marrying her favorite child.Staying relaxed is easier said than done, but stress is both no fun and a big trigger for hot flashes.

If listening to music calms you, bring your headphones while you shop. Take a break for self-care: get a massage, soak in the tub, or go for a long walk before you start to feel burnout.

Doctor’s orders.

We’re hoping this list helps, as well.

Do: prioritize Cyber Monday over Black Friday

Who really wants to wake up at 4 a.m. to beat the Black Friday (November 29) crowds? Cyber Monday (December 2) has become a solid alternative. You’ll get great deals, save gas, and you can do it in your PJs with a cup of (decaf) coffee.

And you don’t need to wait: many retailers already have their Black Friday discounts listed online. For example, Cnet has curated a few ideas from favorite retailers like Walmart and Amazon, and TechRadar has predictions about upcoming Cyber Monday bargains.

Fear not, procrastinators: even if you snooze on the post-Thanksgiving deals, you can take advantage of Free Shipping Day on December 14.

Do: plan out your brick-and-mortar shopping routes

Online shopping makes it easier than ever to cross off everyone on your holiday list without leaving the house.

But when your partner or kids have prying eyes, you want a one-of-a-kind gift that can only be bought in a brick-and-mortar location, or you’re desperate for a new outfit to wear to the office holiday party, you need to put on your big girl pants and get out there.

Whether you’re hitting the mall or the mom-and-pop shops on Main Street on Small Business Saturday (November 30), write out what you want from each store and in which order to visit them to save time, gas, and stress.

Don’t: forget your comfortable shoes and your FitBit!

Hitting the mall can be a great way to get in your steps. Exercise during menopause is important for bone health, weight management, and to lower your risk of breast cancer. Make shopping work to your advantage!

Take the stairs or walk up the escalator. To really get a workout when shopping during the day, park as far from the entrance as you can, or on the opposite end of the side that you’re planning on visiting.


Do: be safe

Safety first, always! Law enforcement professionals remind you to park in well-lit areas, keep your hands free and keys and cellphone easily accessible, roll your windows all the way up when parking, store gifts and bags in your trunk, and always lock your car.

Cybersecurity experts remind you to use trusted websites, make sure the site is SSL encrypted (you’ll know because the URL will start with ‘https’ and you’ll see a locked padlock in the address bar), and other best practices when shopping online.

Don’t: shop hungry, and Do: bring water and healthy snacks

Who can resist the alluring smell of Cinnabon? When that cinnamon-sugary aroma wafts across the food court, it can be hard to resist, especially when you’re stressed. Unfortunately, sugar, caffeine, and other mall delights can lead to hot flashes and midlife weight gain.

Stash a few snacks filled with fiber, protein, vitamins, and healthy fats in your bag: nuts, apple slices, dried fruit, hardboiled eggs, a cup of yogurt or cottage cheese, string cheese, or single-serve hummus and carrots are all portable and healthy.

You’ll feel better and make better shopping decisions.

Don’t forget your water bottle!

Thirst has a funny way of sometimes coming across as hunger, and water is good for your brain, body, and holiday spirit. It’s extra important that you stay hydrated in perimenopause, menopause, and beyond.

Do: play sleuth on social media

You can always count on Santa to let you know what the wee ones want. Teenagers and adults, not so much.

Time to do some sleuthing. Your friends and family members’ "Likes" on Facebook or "Hearts" on Instagram can give you insight into what they would like to find under the tree.

We promise this doesn’t make you a stalker. Well, maybe a little bit, but finding a thoughtful, inspired gift that the recipient will cherish makes it cute, not creepy.

Don’t: gift a DNA testing kit (unless you’re positive the recipient wants one)

Many of us in midlife find ourselves wanting to get in touch with our roots or explore our family tree. DNA tests have become a popular gift in recent years, and the most popular services offer deals around the holidays.

These tests can provide amazing genealogic and health insights but may be problematic as unsolicited gifts.

  • Privacy: Many users have concerns about giving their DNA to private companies.
  • Family: nonpaternity events are more common than you would think; your gift might be the key to a closet full of skeletons.
  • Carrier Status: The tube of spit doesn’t lie, and you can’t unlearn your risk for genetic disease. Not everyone wants or is ready for this truth.

Do: buy gifts that support health

Perhaps your sister is trying to shed a few post-menopausal pounds, or your best friend is getting hit hard by hot flashes. Maybe makeup and nail polish are easy stocking stuffers for your daughter or niece.

We’ve written about how makeup, nail polish, and other cosmetics can be a bummer for breasts. Pick products that are free of parabens, phthalates, phenols, and other potential toxins.

Use this as an opportunity to help your friends swap out bad for better, such as alternatives to plastic (which may be full of cancer-causing chemicals). [A few ideas for reusable gifts]

And browse our gift ideas for women in midlife and menopause or our menopause wish list; from float sessions to cooking classes to smart vibrators (oh my), we’ve got you (and your sister, and your girlfriends) covered.

Don’t: buy gifts at all

What do you get for the person who has everything? Sometimes the answer is nothing—nothing besides memories and experiences.

Sure, you can’t give everyone on your list a vacation or spa day, but there are plenty of experiential options for all budgets, for kids, and for the entire family.

You could also give cold, hard cash, but what’s better than getting $5? Giving $5 to charity. Research shows that the pleasure of receiving money fades, while philanthropic contributions leave a warm and lasting glow. Charity Navigator can help you find reputable non-profits and causes that will resonate with your friends and loved ones’ areas of interest.

And you can’t go wrong with a homemade gift from the heart--even if you aren’t crafty enough to upcycle an apron, you can have a lot of fun putting together a DIY bubble bath set.

Do: get a head start on next year’s shopping

You can score seasonal cheer at a deeply discounted rate after Christmas... while you buy yourself what you really wanted from Santa. If you have the space, stock up on holiday decor and evergreen gifts to save your future self some of the stress you’ve just vanquished.

Don’t: be afraid to say “no”

While there is some truth behind the idea of retail therapy, don’t shop if you know you aren’t in the right headspace for it. The holidays can be hard, and your mental and physical health needs to come first.

While you’re at it, feel empowered to skip the office holiday party. Unless you found that perfect outfit on your shopping adventures.

If you've mastered the art of stress-free holiday shopping, help a buddy out and share it with us in our community forums!



Wendy Sloneker

November 11, 2019

Medically Reviewed By

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