While Christmas can be a happy time of year, it can also be quite stressful when thinking of the gift shopping that is to take place. With the Christmas shopping season almost upon us, many of us are trying to think of how we will endure this yearly ritual with its bustling crowds, packed parking lots, limited supply of certain popular gifts, and stressed retail store staff. In this article, I will provide a few tips to help make this Christmas custom a little more enjoyable and much more stress free.
1. Make a list of those family members, friends, co-workers, and others for whom you will be purchasing gifts. By making a list of those people who will be receiving gifts from you, you will have an idea of how many presents to count on buying and know approximately how much money to budget for those items.
2. Request gift idea lists from those for whom you will be buying presents. Finding out what type of items that your loved ones or co-workers would like to have will ensure that you will select a successful and satisfying gift. Too, ask your list makers to include gift ideas that are from various price ranges, so you are sure to have one choice that will fit your budget.
3. Start shopping earlier in the year if your budget allows for that. When taking that summer vacation or business trip, why not pick up a few goodies that your loved ones have listed as desired items or some items that you feel would be unique presents that they would enjoy. By doing this, it will help save you time and money when the Christmas shopping season comes.
4. Order gifts online. In years past, my husband and I have utilized this method quite a bit. Amazon (www.amazon.com), Harry and David (www.harryanddavid.com), and Ebay (www.ebay.com) can be some of your best friends for shopping for Christmas gifts. Ordering presents online is also an ideal choice if you are buying for loved ones who live in faraway places or simply in another state.
5. Order presents from mail-order catalogs. Harriet Carter, Potpourri, Current, and Toys to Grow On are four catalogs from which I have ordered Christmas gifts. Usually around Christmas, these companies will offer free shipping for orders that are a certain amount. Like online shopping, purchasing from catalogs is a wonderful alternative to use for buying and sending gifts to those that you love who do not live nearby.
6. Buy gift cards or edible yummies for presents. Gift cards or food always make great gift ideas, and they are easy to pick up and purchase quickly. Just find out your loved one’s or co-worker’s favorite store to shop or restaurant to eat, and you are on your way to selecting a gift that he or she will love. In regard to making a gift food selection, be sure to check and see if your loved one or co-worker has any dietary limitations or allergies and choose an appropriate gift based on that information.
7. Give homemade gifts created with love. In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than a gift that is handmade by someone whom I love or respect. Making gifts as opposed to buying them can not only make Christmas shopping less stressful, but it can also provide an opportunity for you and your family to spend some quality time together. My oldest son, daughter, and I have made many sea salt scrubs, beaded bracelets, and soy candles together, and I always cherish that extra time that we have to work with one another.
8. Utilize gift bags and in-store gift wrapping rather than having to wrap presents yourself. After you have been shopping for just the right items for those that you love, you do not want to have to sit down and wrap them. Gift bags are a lovely way to present the gifts to your loved ones. However, if you absolutely have to have them wrapped, then, you can pay a little extra and have the gift wrap personnel in the store from which you purchased the items do it for you. Even online and catalog companies now offer gift wrap for a minimal fee, so go ahead and make your life a little easier by allowing them to wrap for you.
9. If you are going to do some Christmas shopping at your local mall or collection of stores, take a friend or family member with you. Select a shopping partner that is patient and that you enjoy his or her company, and go conquer the crowds together. Also, plan to take some time to sit down together and have a cup of coffee or even lunch. You both will need the break after your mall conquest.
10. Have fun and enjoy yourself. Above all, make your Christmas shopping experience fun. If you are a fan of chocolate, pick up your favorite brand and have a little treat if your diet allows. Feel free to treat yourself in another way if you so choose. Just breathe, smile, and keep in mind the smiling, appreciative faces of your loved ones and co-workers when they open that beloved gift on Christmas morning or at the office Christmas party.
May these tips make your Christmas shopping experience a little less burdensome. Enjoy yourself, and have a very merry Christmas season.