The Christmas season is a special time that should be spent with family and friends, creating memories that will be cherished as they are added to the nostalgic feeling that makes the holidays seem so magical. It’s easy, however, to get caught up in the duties and demands that come with making the magic happen. Decorate! Bake! Shop!
If you don’t get ahead on your to-do list, you may find yourself exhausted, pressed for time, and praying for the holidays to be over. That is why there are more than a few reasons to cross at least one thing off your to-do list and start shopping early so you can focus on the things that really matter.
Pick thoughtful gifts.
Stressed decisions are not often the best decisions. Being in a rush can cloud judgement and lead to choices that may not make sense in the long-run like missing sales or finding that must-have item is sold out. Give yourself the necessary amount of time to consider each person, their wants and needs and move forward with confidence knowing you won’t be trapped between two less-than-desirable options when all other choices have run out.
More time for planning other things.
Shopping isn’t the only potentially stressful activity during the holidays. There are parties to attend, food to cook and cards to send. Budgeting not just your money, but your time as well, will help you keep on track amid the cookie decorating, family photo sessions and tinsel hanging.
Mother Nature is unpredictable.
Depending on where you live, you may have no other choice but to get your shopping done early. Snow fall or heavy rain can make it difficult to get out for your errands. Even if you live in a mild climate, conditions in other cities can often delay shipping, putting you in a pinch when you don’t know if that hand-made coffee cup you purchased on Etsy will arrive on time for your gift exchange.
Spread out your budget.
Instead of getting everything done in an exhausting marathon session, spread holiday shopping out over the next few weeks to ease the burden on your budget as well as your own nerves. Setting a budget ahead of time can also ease the shock that inevitably follows a shopping spree. Since you’ve decided how much you can reasonably spend, that extra time can be used to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your money.
Find better prices.
Take advantage of seasonal sales, like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to snag the best prices. Huge sales like these can be intimidating because they attract swarms of people. These crowds, however, are similar those who can be found shopping in the last few days before Christmas, except the added desperation of a serious time-crunch and reduced options. At the end of the day, you’ll feel better knowing you’re almost done and with a month ahead of you to complete the task.
Get a Head Start on Wrapping
The night before Christmas can turn into a nightmare when you’re surrounded by so many things to wrap. The pressure increases if you’re invested in creatively personalizing these packages. Once you’ve unpacked your shopping bags or brought your parcels in from the front porch, it’s time to get started. Build anticipation by laying your finished packages under the tree or make them magically appear the morning of the 25th, and don’t worry about running out of tape.
Less stress means Happier Holidays.
One of the drawbacks of leaving everything until the end is that you are left with very little time to enjoy the season. Procrastination makes the cloud of responsibilities only grow more menacing as time progresses. With holiday shopping under control, you’ll have the peace of mind to enjoy the season.
3 Ways to Make Gift Giving Easier
Get a list
Take out the guesswork and get your friends and family what they really want. Request a list of desired items from those nearest and dearest to you and choose something that fits your budget from that list. It may seem less than merry to remove the element of complete surprise from your family’s gift exchange, but knowing your present is unlikely to be returned is a fair trade. Some choose a theme such as “something you want, something you need, something you’ll wear and something you’ll read” as a fun template for gift giving.
Shop from home
Avoid the crowds and stay in your fuzzy slippers by shopping online. With options for free shipping, adding gift wrap your order, delivering directly to the recipient or store pick-up for protection against package thieves, it’s a cinch to click and be done. Most shops, both large and small, will post a holiday specific shipping schedule so their customers can navigate the postal service’s busiest weeks.
Make it an Outing
Invite a friends who are great company and have good taste and you’ll enjoy every minute of your gift gathering excursion. Plan to stop by a favorite café along the way for a snack and hot beverage of choice.