As Joyous and Fun as the Christmas Season Can Be, We Can Get Stressed Finding Gifts, Finding the Time in Our Busy Schedules and Getting it Done. Here are 9 Tips to Help!
1. Make a list. It really helps! Write down WHO you have to buy for, what you have it mind or what they want. This really helps when you are surfing through sites like this to find gifts or in the stores. It is easy to get off track and buy several gifts for one person and nothing for another. Making a list is easy – even Santa Claus does this. And like Santa, make sure that you check it twice. Be sure that you did not leave anyone off the list.
Tip: If you aren’t sure what family members want and you aren’t sure what you might want to buy, ask for their list. This works great with kids who are clear in what they are dreaming about, but it is helpful with all ages! In our family, we do this at Thanksgiving. It can help if you need ideas.
2. Shop early and consistently, but not often. Avoid the temptation of going online or out to get “just a few more things.” This can snowballs into overspending. You made the list, now stick to it. Shopping early is easy to do – just set aside a specific and focused time. Don’t be like so many and go into a frenzied panic on Christmas Eve or the last minute.
3. Use the internet! Many of us have not gone “Christmas shopping” in the stores for at least 3 years. You can avoid long lines, bad weather, parking and traffic problems, angry people who are supposed to be in the spirit of the season etc. by shopping online. It can be a time-saver, too. You can order all of your gifts on your list online and have them delivered right to your home.
4. Wrap as you go. This is my personal downfall – I do well with the shopping part but forget to wrap them until the day before Christmas – and that is stressful! Get some wrapping paper (check your wrapping paper supply NOW), tape and scissors and keep them in a place where they will be undisturbed. It I easier to wrap the gifts as you get them rather than waiting until the last minute, running around the house looking for tape or more wrapping paper, trying to do all of the other things you really need to do – and having the time to enjoy! (If you don’t have cards, make sure to mark what is for who!)
5. Stick to your budget for less stress. Many people get into the frenzy of Christmas shopping as if they forget that they have to actually pay for the stuff. Come up with a budget and stick to it. This will eliminate the MONEY STRESS that can be felt around Christmas or the month after.
6. Consider gift cards or personally baked goods for your local “service” folks. Your local drugstore most likely has gift cards that you can give to people such as the mailman, the hairdresser, yard guy, plumber and others who you wish to remember for the holidays. You can also use gift cards for office workers. Gift cards can use them as they like. However, if you want to give a more personal touch (and maybe you are on a more strict budget), then bake up some Christmas cookies or your favorite sweets, put them in a Christmas tin or box you can find at the drugstore or dollar store, and voila.
7. Listen to Christmas Music and Even Sing Along. Yes, while you are shopping online, put on some music. The stores do it. It can get you in the mood, relieve tension and add some festive fun.
8. Gifts That Need to Be Mailed – Mail Early! Instead of waiting until the last minute and paying five or more times the amount to ship something, mail any gifts early. Better yet, if you shop online, you can have the gifts mailed directly to the recipient. Most online outlets offer wrapping as well.
9. Pay for your gifts with credit cards or use a service like Paypal. These offer a guarantee if the gift does not arrive on time or arrives broken. If you use a debit card, cash or check, you do not have this protection. This can give you a little bit of assurance when you are buying gifts for Christmas and take some of the stress out of gift buying. And save those receipts in case there are returns or exchanges.