Some people love to Christmas shop. They love the decorations, the crowds, and selecting the perfect gift for everyone on their list. Others find it stressful. Whether you dread holiday shopping or it's your favorite pastime, the Christmas shopping tips below will make your experience more streamlined and enjoyable.
Helpful Christmas Shopping Tips
Take time to plan, budget, and get organized before beginning your Christmas shopping.
Make a List
Decide who you are buying gifts for. Some people only shop for close family and friends. Other people give Christmas presents to co-workers, hairdressers, plumbers, teachers, and more. Whether your list is long or short, write down everyone you intend to buy gifts for. Next to each person's name, add some additional details to help you start shopping. Your list should include:
- Specific gift ideas, such as a particular doll or a specific color of sweater or tie
- General gift ideas, such as a toy or an article of clothing
- Clothing and shoe sizes
- Notes about your recipients' favorite colors, food items, or favorite stores, in case you decide to buy a gift card
- A general Christmas gift or two that can be given to anyone who unexpectedly gives you a gift, or to someone you might have forgotten to add to your initial list
Determine the Perfect Gift
What sort of gift matches each person on your list? Have a rough idea of what presents would delight your recipients. Write the ideas down. Listen to the people on your list for any hints they drop about gift wishes for inspiration, and write those down as well. Remember:
- The best gifts come from a thoughtful heart.
- Buy what they would like, not necessarily what you like and want.
- For the person who has everything and wants nothing, consider making a donation in their name to a special cause.
- Have a designated area in your home for presents, such as a section of a closet or the attic.
Have a Budget
Before starting your Christmas shopping, take some time to determine your holiday budget. Then get a general idea of how much you will spend on each person. For instance, you'll likely spend more money on your immediate family than on a co-worker. Lastly, make sure you allow money for all aspects of holiday shopping, including:
- Wrapping paper, bows, and cards
- Shipping costs for any gifts going out of town
- Holiday food and goodies
It's a good idea to put away your credit cards and load the amount you have determined you can spend on a pre-paid credit card. Having this money separated out will help ensure you stay within your budget.
Avoid Potential Shopping Delays
Remember to consider potential shopping delays in your Christmas shopping plans. Shop early, before the peak shopping hours and days. This will help eliminate the stress of finding parking, searching various stores for items that are selling out fast, and dealing with large and sometimes grumpy crowds.
Map Out Your Shopping Trip
Make a strategic plan as to which stores you want to visit. Gather store catalogs together and circle the items you want to purchase. Investing time to look through catalogs to compare prices will help save a lot of leg work. It will also save money. Some stores will price match and honor the price of an advertised item from a competing store. This might keep you from having to go from one store to the next. Put catalogs, your list, and any coupons you might have together in a small zippered folder that will fit into a purse or be easy to carry.
Utilize Online Christmas Shopping
If you don't have time or can't bear shopping at the local stores, there are countless online stores full of Christmas treasures. Taking your shopping spree online is safer and easier than ever. All major department stores and specialty stores have easy-to-use websites. Thanks to the amazing power and reach of the internet, you can sit back, relax, and buy your Christmas gifts from the comfort of your own home.
However, you should still plan ahead and have a gift list when Christmas shopping online. Additionally, it's more important than ever to shop early. Try to place all your orders just after Thanksgiving, or even earlier in the year. If you wait too long to order a popular toy, you might be dealing with a very disappointed child on Christmas morning.
Popular Sites for Buying Christmas Gifts
Check out the following websites to discover the variety of gifts offered for people of all ages:
- Amazon.com has books, CDs, DVDs, computer software, clothing, home décor, toys, books, and other gift items. Tip: Amazon is the ultimate website for brainstorming toy lists for a child's annual Santa letter.
- Overstock.com lets you buy jewelry, electronics, home décor, apparel, and other gift items at affordable prices.
- Etsy offers the creations of incredibly talented artisans from around the world.
Christmas Is for Giving
Christmas is the season to give gifts that will bring joy to your loved ones. These simple tips will ensure you're able to achieve all of your holiday shopping goals with ease.