Holiday Shopping Plans

pixabay giftMaybe you’re one of those organized people who already have all of your gifts bought, wrapped, labeled and ready to put under the tree that will be going up this weekend. If you are, great; this blog is not for you. But if you’re still trying to figure out how you’re going to get everything done this holiday season, here are some suggestions for making your gift-giving easier.

Make a list: Every organized person talks about how a list is essential, but when it comes to gift giving, they’re absolutely right. It can seem overwhelming to figure out whom you want to buy what for, but a list helps you keep things straight. It also provides a handy check-off system to make sure you didn’t forget anyone.

Make a budget: Every year people get in trouble by spending more than they can afford for the holidays. Take the time now before you start buying to make a financial plan to hit January in a good place. Budget for each person with the understanding that you may move the number up or down slightly if needed. And remember when tempted to go over, it really is the thought that counts.

Think outside the store: Maybe this is the year that you give your niece that heirloom necklace you inherited from your grandmother or your book-loving nephew a couple of special first-editions from your personal library. Are there other family or personal treasures that you would like to share with the next generation, or even a friend who would appreciate them? These can make great holiday gifts.

Shop online for out-of-town gift giving: Don’t waste your time with packages at the post office. Instead order your gifts online and let them ship for you. Many vendors offer free or low-cost shipping and will even gift-wrap and add a note.

With just a little planning, you can make this holiday season productive and fun without creating the stress and worry gift buying can produce. And that will give you more energy to enjoy this time of year!

Last Minute Gift Ideas

11233821_SIt’s less than a week until everyone unwraps presents under the tree – are you finished with your shopping? If not, here are some gift ideas to make these next few days easier.

Shop non-standard stores: Department and discount stores are crazy busy this time of year. Instead, how about checking out gift boutiques in smaller shopping centers? Consignment and antique shops have a wonderful collection of gift possibilities and are much less crowded than other stores this time of year.

Give an experience: Tickets to a play or concert, or a gift-certificate for the play or concert of their choice, can be easily arranged online with minimal effort. If you make sure your choice suits the taste of the recipient, this can be a truly special gift.

Give a service: A day at a spa, a home cleaning service, or a catered meal at home can be a real treat for busy families. If money is tight, how about offering to chauffer the kids on their carpools for a couple of days to give parents a little time off, or babysitting to give them a chance to get away for an evening?

Gift certificates: This may seem like a lazy gift, but you can make it special. For example, give a teenager a set of gift certificates that add up to a nice date – movie tickets and dinner at a special restaurant for example. Others may prefer an iTunes gift certificate allows them to buy their own music online. Look for opportunities to encourage people to try a new restaurant that you particularly like – combine a gift certificate with a copy of the menu and write comments in the margin to indicate your favorite dishes.

If you’ve procrastinated, use your imagination instead of creating stress for yourself, and you may find that this year’s gifts are the best ever!

Gift wrap that grabs people

23430917_SIt’s true that once unwrapping starts, the gift’s the thing. But until that moment, making the giftwrap something special adds to the excitement and allure of the holidays.

If you want your gifts to capture attention even before they’re opened, here are a few ideas to help your presents have a presence under the tree.

Go metallic: This is actually a very easy way to make your gifts eye-catching. This photo shows both gold and silver, but you may want to choose one or the other. Select one or two metallic papers, and two or three types of ribbon in a matching metallic finish. Vary the ribbons and papers to create a charming vignette of shiny gifts. Bring the bling to your holiday gifts.

Select a single look: Choose one pattern of gift wrap and a ribbon that works well with it, and wrap everything the same. Consider buying one of the wire-edged ribbons available at warehouse clubs this time of year, with many yards for under ten dollars. Having all your presents in the same design will create a signature wrap for you every year that people will look forward to seeing.

6245227_SGo for the unusual: If you have small gifts, wrapping them in money – either U.S. or foreign currency – makes an intriguing look. (Of course, you don’t have to use the Ben Franklin shown here – dollar bills will cover it.) Some people like to wrap gifts in the Sunday funnies. You can use wrapping that adds to the gift inside – for example a dishtowel can wrap a kitchen tool or a scarf can cover a new shirt.

If you let some of the creativity you used to pick out your gifts to choose the right wrapping choice, you may be surprised to see that your presents are appreciated even before they’re opened.