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7 Reasons To Start Your Holiday Shopping Early

Dreading the mall? Can't commit to adding items to your cart online? Here's the motivation you need to get Christmas shopping under control.

Color coordinated gift wrap keeps things looking cohesive under the Christmas tree
Adding gifts under the tree after wrapping helps build anticipation for the big day, but hiding presents away until after everybody else has gone to bed on Christmas Eve adds to the magic of the season and can help little ones avoid temptation.

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.



Farmhouse Finds at Paris Couture Antiques

We're loving this Utah flea.

ROMANTIC13If your eye finds the beauty in patina and can appreciate those diamonds found in the rough at a flea market, then you’ll love Paris Couture Antiques in Saratoga Springs, Utah.

Owned and curated by Alys Geertsen, Paris Couture Antiques is an online shop run from her home that offers fixtures and accessories in Parisian and Provincial styles.  “I have everything from vintage santos figures to crowns and everything in between, but my main draw is antique and vintage lighting,” says Alys. “A lot of the crystals on the light fixtures or accessories were manufactured in Europe, so the quality is superb.”

Other beautiful treasures include gilt mirrors with real 24-carat gold leaf that work well in interiors both vintage and modern. “I pick unique items that you’re not going to be able to find anywhere else,” she says.

Also offering design services and scheduled appointments in her home shop, Alys helps clients create the look they’re dreaming of by sourcing just the right elements to bring it all together beautifully.

“These accessories aren’t going out of style in a couple years, you’re going to love them forever,” Alys says. Visit pariscoutureantiques.com.

 



Find the Perfect Farmhouse Trestle Table

It seems as though fall was made for the farmhouse style. We've got the prettiest picks for trestle tables that are perfect for hosting harvest celebrations.

The trestle table feels right at home in a farmhouse setting. Photo by Bret Gum

Although the trestle table is a mainstay of the contemporary American farmhouse-styled home, its history traces back to England’s medieval period when similar furniture pieces were more functional than design statement and were used in the humblest of homes as well as castles and manors.

Characterized by two or three trestle supports, a cross-member and a large board on top, the trestle table was simple yet sturdy and folded up to be stored away. With its narrow tabletop, a trestle table allowed servants to easily deliver meals to diners, but at a moment’s notice it could also double as a shield when flipped over to protect from intruders. Its popularity later waned when gateleg and refectory tables came on the scene, but we still appreciate the trestle table today for its trusty and timeless design.

The trestle table comes in a variety of styles, from its most utilitarian form to more elegant versions that make for beautiful dining in well-designed spaces.

Eloquence- StRemyDiningTable 3

Eloquence® pickled white St. Remy trestle table in pickled white finish. Visit thebellacottage.com.

Amish Tables Peyton_Trestle

Peyton trestle extension table. Visit amishtables.com.

Wayfair Ostby Dining Table_Wayfair 01Lark Manor Ostby dining table. Visit wayfair.com.

BSEID nantes1

Nantes dining table by Zentique. Visit bseid.com.

Belle Maison Francaise French Trestle Dining Table - Belle Maison

Country French trestle dining table. Visit bellemaisonfrancaise.com.



Get Ready for a Trip to the Flea Market

We talked to a few flea market experts to discover how they prepare for a day of shopping to help you get ready for your next trip.

Flea Market Vintage Bakeware

The weather is warmer, the days are longer—it’s the perfect time to hit the flea market! We talked to a few flea market experts to discover how they prepare for a day of shopping to help you get ready for your next trip.

Lindsey Donaldson of the Cottage Dreaming & Flea Market Wishes blog brings a wire shopping cart, water bottle, sweater and cross-body bag with her on flea market trips. “I have an old almost worn out floral Vera Bradley cross body bag that I have just for flea marketing,” she says. “Inside are hankies, wet wipes, business cards for my blog, breath mints, measuring tape, small pad of paper and pen, chap stick/gloss, phone, ID, keys, cash of fives and ones, and a few cough drops.”

Shannon Gallegos of the Vintage Sparkle Chic blog also recommends taking a small cross-body purse. “I also leave my large purse at home and opt for a cross body small purse, I have to keep my hands free for carrying all of those vintage goodies,” she says. “SPF is a must along with lip SPF. Water bottle for hydration is most helpful on hot and dry Colorado summer days.”

Linda Albers of The Funky Junk Sisters and The Great Junk Hunt has this recommendation: “Make sure your phone is fully charged,” she says. “Take a picture of where you parked so you can find your way back easily. Take photos of purchases so you can go back later for pickup.”

Lori Cowherd of Thieves Market Vintage Flea has this advice for shoppers looking for a specific item: “If you are looking for something in particular, talk to the vendors,” she says. “Sometimes they have just what you’re looking for in their storage and can arrange to get together after the market.”

Vendor Gaye Penney of Vintage Rhodes offers this advice to all flea market shoppers: “First and foremost, buy what you love,” she says. “There is no right or wrong piece. If something evokes a memory of brings you pleasure to look at, procure those things.”

For more flea market shopping tips, the hottest collectibles to buy and the top markets to visit this summer, check out the May issue of Romantic Homes.



Get the Look: Vintage Chic Powder Room


Vintage Pink Powder Room
Jaimee Itagaki

No space in your home is too small to express your passion for romantic style. Pastel paints, floral prints, upcycled cabinets, vintage light fixtures and a variety of flea market finds can be used to give your bathroom unique shabby flare. Take inspiration from this shabby-sweet powder room, hit your favorite flea market and check out these vintage-style pieces online to craft a lovely and romantic bathroom.

Cath Kidston Antique Rose Bouquet Wallpaper

If you’re not lucky enough to find a home with the classic floral wallpaper in tact (and the original pink tile and fixtures to match), this Cath Kidston wallpaper offers that same sweet feel.

Wayfair Neal Medicine Cabinet

Flea markets, garage sales and antiques stores are great sources of wood furnishings. Sites like Wayfair offer contemporary pieces with traditional styling.

Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Chalk Clay Paint

Give your new and vintage finds a lovely pastel finish with Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Chalk & Clay Paint.

Anthropologie Seet Celebration Dishtowel

The print is so adorable, who cares that this piece from Anthrolpologie is a dishtowel and not made for the bath?

Crate Barrel Phoebe Footed Dessert Dish

Dishes like this piece from Crate & Barrel make wonderfully stylish catch-alls.

Laura Ashley Hydrangea Flower Hook

Hang towels, accessories and more from this charming Laura Ashley hook.

Mikasa Antique Garden Teacup

Turn your mismatched teacups into unique decor pieces.

Etsy Antique Botanical Art Vintage Roses Art Print

Floral artwork is a beautiful finishing touch for your vintage chic bathroom.