The sparkle in their eyes when they open the perfect gift – that's what I like most about the holidays. As I've gotten older, my love of the holiday season has changed from the excitement of opening my own gifts to the fun of seeing my gift recipients love the gifts that I've thoughtfully chosen for them. I love Christmas shopping, but it isn't always the easiest thing to do. The holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day is so busy, and it can be stressful to find the perfect gifts, wrap them, and plan your holiday menus. Here are some tips for holiday shopping that can help you stay as stress free as possible.
Tips for Holiday Shopping
Figuring Out Your Shopping List
This is the very first step. I recommend either writing everything down, or using a spreadsheet. Personally, I use a traveler's notebook so that I can keep track of everything and keep all of my receipts in one place. It's portable too, so I can carry it along with me when I go shopping. If you are shopping for kids in your home, make sure that you keep this list hidden so that curious little eyes don't find it.
Once you create a list, figure out your budget. I usually start by making a per person budget. Then I add everything up, and make sure that the total is within my family budget for the season. If it's too high, I go back to the per person budget and lower things.
Amazon Shopping Tips
Many people do the majority of their Christmas shopping on Amazon. It can be a convenient and affordable way to shop for presents. To maximize your budget, check out our Amazon money saving tips here.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you shop on Amazon for the holidays:
- Some items may come in a box that betrays their contents. This is usually mentioned in the listing, but definitely keep it in mind.
- As you get closer to the holidays, shipping times become more important. Keep an eye on them so that you aren't disappointed, and remember that delays can sometimes happen.
- Third-party sellers often charge higher rates on hard-to-find items. Know who you are buying from, and know your prices.
- There are often great deals you can find every day on Amazon. Shop daily to find some great details.
Online Shopping Sites To Bookmark
In addition to Amazon, you will probably find yourself buying quite a few items online. Not only is this convenient – you can also get some fabulous deals online. In many cases, you can also go through a cashback site to get even better deals. Check out this post filled with cashback sites so that you can get the most value from your online shopping. Don't forget to compare prices, because you can often find a huge variance in prices throughout the holiday season.
I try to do my Christmas shopping throughout the year, buying things as I find the perfect gift for people on my list. This works best for adults, because kids' interests and wants can change a lot over a year. For some gifts, including handmade (from Etsy) or personalized gifts, it can take a while before your item is shipped. You'll want to make sure things arrive well in advance.
It is important, however, that you keep track of the things that you buy, so that you don't forget them. It's easy to forget about items that you bought earlier in the year. Find a good spot in your home to store the presents so that you don't lose them (something that is also easy to do). Sometimes hiding spots can be TOO good.
Wrap as You Go
I like wrapping gifts, but I hate the pressure of having too many gifts to wrap at the very last minute. It's easier to wrap gifts as you go, perhaps once a week. Again, it's important to keep track of everything that you've purchased, since you won't be able to see everything. I also use lots of reusable bags as gift bags, which are easier and also more environmentally friendly.
Have you started Christmas shopping yet?
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