For many people, the holiday season isn’t exactly a time of excitement and joy, but rather a time of dread and misery. Okay, we may be exaggerating a bit, but if you’ve ever experienced being overwhelmed and stressed out during the holidays, you know there’s a grain of truth in what we’re saying.

Just thinking of the demands of family obligations – such as seeing to the needs of visiting relatives – can cause anxiety. Put preparing holiday meals, attending parties, making custom gift baskets and gift shopping (including your Secret Santa exchange at the office) into the mix, and you’ll surely be at your wit’s end even before Christmas Eve. Not a good way to spend what should be the most wonderful time of the year, but it does happen.

These are just some of the reasons why many people find it hard to get into the holiday spirit. Well, through years of experiencing some sort of holiday blues ourselves, we’ve learned that one surefire way to combat those negative feelings is by getting an early start on our holiday shopping. That way, we don’t feel pressured to finish our shopping in one go, and we have plenty of time to find Christmas gifts for our own deserving selves!

It’s really worth a try. To help you get pumped up for the holidays, we’ve come up with a list of some of the best presents to give to your family, friends, and (of course) yourself.

The power of music

Music can have a truly profound effect on the body and your emotions, and many people listen to music to help them focus and relax. We don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate music in one form of another (we take this to mean we’re in really good company!) so the first thing that comes to mind in terms of holiday gifts is something music-related.

Portable wireless speakers, noise-canceling earphones, music players, Bluetooth headsets, vinyl records, and turntables among others, are just some of the gifts that every music lover will enjoy. Band merchandise and concert tickets are also awesome gifts to give to someone special.

Portable wireless speakers

One of the hottest things to make a strong comeback in recent years is the turntable. It’s really not just for so-called hipsters who go for just about anything “vintage,” but for true audiophiles who value sound quality and the purest music there is.

We’re especially liking the Pro-Ject Essential II turntable, which makes a great gift for those wanting to experience Hi-Fi audio and get started on collecting vinyl without breaking the bank. The Essential-II, for an entry-level model, has impressed many a turntable geek and has won a WHAT Hi-Fi Award for “Best turntable under £400.” Trust us, you’ll want one for yourself. The red variant has Christmas all over it – go take your old Carpenters or Nat King Cole Christmas records out for a spin and relive the good’ ol days.

Anything red, really

To combat the holiday blues and get you into the holiday spirit, shop for red things. The color red is often associated with love, warmth, and giving, which is why red is the color of Christmas (and Valentine’s Day!). Aside from the red turntable we’ve shortlisted, there are plenty of other red items your friends, family, and S.O. will surely adore.

Check out this list of rad red gift items that are perfect for the holidays. We’re digging the pair of red Everlast training gloves – give it to someone you know just needs that little push to take up muay thai or boxing. For your PJ-loving bestie, the Eberjey short pajama set in red will be perfect for those days she would love nothing more than to chill at home. For sneaker freaks, the Adidas Originals x Pharrell Williams Mesh Sneaker is the top choice. And for lipstick-lovers everywhere, Sephora’s Perfect Bite Amuse Bouche Lipstick Set is a must-have for achieving that holiday look.

Books for kids

If you have a special kid in your life – a son, daughter, nephew, niece, neighbor, godchild, or the kids at the shelter – a book or two will not only add to their holiday fun, but it will also help you get your holiday spirit on, especially if you read with them. Sometimes grownups forget what Christmas is all about and kids need to step in.

Reading holiday-themed books with kids (and watching their faces light up during the exciting bits) brings a sense of calm and joy, just what grownups need to get in the spirit of the season. Some of our favorite festive books for kids everywhere are The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett, Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert, The Angel Tree by Daphne Benedis-Grab, and Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby.

For your holiday reading hour, gather the kids around and make sure there’s enough hot cocoa, milk, pretzel sticks, and cookies for everyone (including Santa Claus, of course).

The ubiquitous Christmas sweater

“So tacky they’re fashionable,” is how we describe our favorite ugly Christmas sweaters. Giving sweaters with snowflakes, reindeer, Santa Claus, and Frosty on them may be something a thoughtful grandaunt (whom you haven’t seen in 20 years) would do, but there’s no rule saying you can’t give your loved ones those abominable sweaters too.

To give more value to your gift, invite all of your recipients to join a charity event wearing their sweater, like the annual Ugly Sweater Run, a race held in different cities to benefit children in need all over the world. Those sweaters may be ugly, tacky, or simply banned from the runway, but they’re also perfect for the season and can easily get you in a fun, festive mood. Post an ugly sweater groufie and see those Likes shoot up all the way to the next galaxy.

So if you feel the holiday blues coming, get shopping! What other gifts do think can get even the toughest Grinch into the holiday spirit? Sound off in the comments below!