Five tips for stress-free gift giving at Christmas

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(BPT) -- Holidays are supposed to be fun. But the struggle to find the right gift can put a damper on even the happiest celebration. Good news: It doesn't have to be that way. With a few simple tips and tricks, learn how to take the stress and hassle out of shopping for presents and focus on the joy of giving.

Lizzie Post, etiquette expert and paid Bank of America spokesperson, offers these simple tips for stress-free gifting:

-- Get creative: Not sure what to buy? Sometimes it's as simple as a little investigating on social media. Friends or family members often post clues on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest that indicate their interests or "must have" items.

-- Stay organized: Make a list of stores throughout the year where you've seen gift ideas and presents you'll want to purchase for the holidays. This will cut down on the number of trips you make to the mall. Also, keep blank cards on hand for any occasion, as well as envelopes and stamps, so that sending cards becomes as easy as walking to the mailbox.

-- Don't break the bank: Create a budget for gifts. Managing finances and shopping within your means will take away some stress and restore a sense of control. Then relax and enjoy the occasion without fretting about your next credit card statement.

-- Designate a day: Dedicate a day, or even just a few hours, to shopping. Crossing all of your errands off at once will feel like an accomplishment and free up time for other activities such as spending time with friends and family.

-- Be practical: No one wants to buy a gift that's going to collect dust in the recipient's closet. Instead, buy something that will be useful. And remember, useful doesn't mean boring; it means thoughtful -- like a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or a vase for a friend who loves fresh flowers.

Don't hesitate to gift cash

To make gift giving even simpler, why not give a friend or family member the freedom to buy what they want? Giving cash is the best way to ensure that the gift will go toward something they really want. Better yet, it means no more trekking to the post office, paying outrageous shipping fees, dealing with crowds at a mall, or waiting in long lines. It's a win-win situation.

And, with advances in mobile technology, gifting money is easier and more convenient than ever. For instance, Bank of America lets people send money to another person using only their email address or mobile phone number, allowing them to save time, energy and effort.

Prefer to send a check? No problem. Recipients can simply access Bank of America's mobile banking app on their smartphone or tablet to securely deposit checks on their schedule.

Follow these tips to simplify your life and focus on what's truly meaningful. For more information, visit www.bankofamerica.com/mobilebanking.

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