A big part of the holiday season is the hunt for Christmas gifts. However, many people find this yearly pursuit deeply stressful, not to mention expensive! For many people, December is a costly and trying month. Shops and malls are bursting at the seams with heaving crowds. Everywhere signs are tempting us with unbeatable deals and lines are longer than ever. Fortunately, there are ways to handle the chaos and stress. You do not have to throw yourself into the throng. Here are some tips to help make it more fun and less pricey:
Create Lists. I love lists and the number one way to get more organized and less overwhelmed is to dump all that information in your head down on paper. A little time preparing and organizing can go a long way to sanity. Set a budget while making a list of essential purchases. Then make a note of upcoming deals. Write down what to buy, where to buy it, and then go out and buy it. Try to do this well in advance of the holiday season so you don’t have to pay a marked-up price on popular items, a suggestion that leads perfectly into the next tip.
Don’t Wait until the Last Minute. One of the best holiday stress-busting tips is to start early on your Christmas shopping. You can save a lot of time in shops by avoiding the crowds and endless queues, which are inevitable closer to the holiday season. This also leaves you with more time to seek out deals on desirable gifts, so this tip can save you money as well.
Buy Gifts Online. Online shopping is the least stressful kind of shopping. You have endless possibilities at your finger tips and you don’t have to deal with crowds or queues. Prices online are often lower than on the street because online retailers can offer deals that can’t be had anywhere else. There are also online shops that specialize in unique gifts that you can’t find in the shopping mall. Many online retailers also offer a gift wrapping service, and if you like, you can have your gift sent directly to the recipient’s doorstep. It’s quick, easy, and with a few clicks, you’re done!
Don’t Buy Everything at Once. Instead of cramming all your purchases into one very busy and tiring weekend, spread them out over several mini buying trips. Invite a friend or family member along. Have fun buying a present together for another friend or family member. Maybe you can ask your mom out for lunch, and then afterwards, go shopping for a Christmas present for dad.
Save Big Purchases for the Sales. If almost everything is marked up during the holiday season, as soon as the sales start, prices can drop significantly on desired items. Don’t buy expensive gifts if you think you can get a much better deal in a few weeks’ time. In fact, I recently saw a great deal on slippers and almost purchased them but found out they would be offered at a price of 2 for 1 just one week later. I waited and then made my purchase. Another great way to deal with expensive gifts is gift certificates. Gift certificates don’t have to be boring to give, as long as you go beyond the traditional combination of holiday card and gift certificate. Use your imagination to wrap the certificate in a creative way. You could also add a small, inexpensive present to make your gift more tangible.
And for the last, and most important tip:
Remember the Reason for the Season. Despite all these tips, the main thing to remember is why we give in the first place. It is not meant to cause us stress and resentment. It is meant for us to remember the gift we were given, Jesus! He was the least material person and yet we seem to forget that. While gift giving is great, sometimes the best gift is simply the gift of your time, and it doesn’t cost any money.
Following the above tips is sure to save you a little money this coming holiday season. But, perhaps more importantly, it will also help you to stay stress free. So, don’t lose your sanity in the Christmas bustle. Keep calm and enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas!