The holiday season is starting to begin–trailers for holiday movies on TV, Starbucks holiday cups, and downtown Portland has started to display their christmas lights. You know what that means! Christmas shopping time is in full swing. I wish everyone loved christmas shopping but for many it’s just incredibly stressful. Below are some tips that may help to make it less stressful, or just more fun!
1. Throughout the year any good potential gifts (or just cool items) you see online save them in a “Gifts” bookmark folder or add to a potential gifts list. I do both of these things. Then when it comes time to start christmas shopping the “AAH what do I get this person?!” feeling is greatly minimized by having some great gift ideas before the shopping even begins. (You can also check out my Gifts posts by clicking on the “Gifts” category to the right to help get some ideas!).
2. Be a member of Groupon and Living Social who will send you daily emails with great deals. Many of the deals will be things you don’t want or need. BUT on those fabulous days that it IS something you want. It’s awesome. The key is to buy the deals you want and then save them for this time of year instead of spending them immediately on yourself.
TIP: check the expiration date on the deals to make sure you use them in time! Also, when you get those daily emails make sure to consider those you give gifts to before clicking the “delete” button. I have a couple gifts covered by groupon and living social deals already. I saved money and the gifts will WOW the recipient (they don’t have to know how much you saved 😉 )
3. Just like the “potential gifts” list you made throughout the year, once you start buying gifts make a list of what you have gotten, who it is for, and the price of the gift. Then when you think of a great gift for someone double check you haven’t already bought something for that person and keep an eye on how much you have been spending.
4. Have a few back-up gifts. Grab a few bottles of wine (one of Oregon’s many selections!), a couple candles, or some chocolates for those people you may forget. You know we all do it and it’s nothing to feel bad about…as long as you are prepared! No one wants to be forgotten but it’s even worse if you are the one who forgot. Make it less of a “my bad” gift by buying local and having some nice cards you can jot a quick personal note in.
5. Don’t take a lot of trips to the mall. Use that potential gifts list to your advantage! Figure out what is best to go buy, and get those specific items. No one likes to wander aimlessly through the crowded mall halls.
6. Don’t go in the mall with out a plan, all the stores will have sales that will suck you into buying more than you need or want.
7. There are a few people that you won’t be able to think of a GREAT gift for. This is when you can take advantage of those store sales. Get them something they will appreciate and use but doesn’t cost a lot. (Key: Know how many people you want to buy these types of gifts for so again you don’t over spend). Some good staple gifts for girls: bath & body works lotion/body wash, The Limited or Gap Scarf, Coach wristlet, wine, chocolates, starbucks gift certificate, or costume jewelry. For boys: itunes gift card, best buy gift card, a season of their favorite show, netflix subscription (boys are so much harder 😛 ).
8. Go shopping by yourself or with a friend (that you are not purchasing for), grab a starbucks, plan a lunch in the middle of the trip and make it a festive event! I always love carrying around all my purchases in the stores festive shopping bags for my own Carrie Bradshaw moment.
I’ll add tips throughout the season as they come to mind, but start those lists so you can feel comfortable with your spending and be unstressed about having a gift for everyone!