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!

Planning your Holiday Shopping

16854718_SIf you are one of those people who already finished your holiday shopping, then this blog is not for you. However, if you still have the bulk of it to finish, here are a few suggestions to help you get through the next few weeks.

Set a budget first. It’s tempting to go shopping and be casual about your spending, but by going over your planned spending amount for even a few gifts, you can end up with a larger bill at the end of the holiday than you expect.

Make a list, check it twice. Did you get Uncle Fred a pair of slippers last year? Have you picked up something for every niece and nephew? Track your gift buying so you know how much you have left to do this year.

Wrap as you go. Piles of unwrapped holiday gifts look like clutter in your home. Wrap them and you have a bunch of holiday decorations instead. If you have a tree, set them underneath. If not, choose a side table or corner as the present destination. Your life will also be easier if you don’t have a lot of gifts to wrap at the last minute.

Look for re-gift opportunities. That set of bath salts from Aunt Sophie that you have no use for may be perfect for your friend who loves baths. Re-gifting is fine as long as the gift is something the receiver would like to have.

Have fun. Don’t let the stress of the holiday stop you from enjoying the process. Take time to listen to the holiday music and admire the decorations. Pick gift wrap that you like so wrapping is a pleasure. Take a break and grab a hot chocolate. Yes, you may have a lot to do, but take a few moments to make this year’s holiday shopping special for you.