5 Tips for organized Christmas shopping

By | November 15, 2017 | Holidays & Entertaining

5 Tips for organized Christmas shopping

Once the kids go back to school, it’s easy to let fall sports, classroom commitments, homework, Halloween, and Thanksgiving fly by without any preparation for December and the Christmas season.

Just the thought of shopping for loved ones in a crowded shopping mall is enough to drive anyone crazy. Here are five ways to get yourself organized so you can sit back and enjoy the season and the month of December.

1.   Make a list and check it twice.

Decide for whom you’d like to purchase gifts this year.

When you hear your family and friends mention something they like, make a mental note and then write it down on your Christmas shopping list. I try to keep track of these items throughout the year, but birthdays give me another opportunity to cross items off the list and add new ones.

I keep a list for each person on my computer and smartphone and in some cases, I have wish lists created for my closest family members on websites of major online retailers like Amazon and eBay. This helps me to keep track of what I may have purchased in the past and allows for easy updating.

2.   Grow your holiday spending account and create a budget.

Are you ready for this year’s holiday shopping season? Don’t make a bad financial move by turning to credit cards to finance your holiday shopping. Use only cash to shop by starting or growing your holiday savings account now.

After you’ve decided for whom you’d like to purchase gifts, determine your holiday gift budget. When you determine your budget, be sure to include gifts (and stocking stuffers), Christmas cards, and any other expenses such as shipping, travel, food and drinks for a dinner party, or new holiday decorations.

If you create your budget months ahead of time, you’ll better manage your Christmas spending and avoid any regret after the hype on Christmas Day.

3.   Don’t shop ‘til you drop.

Because you’ve already started your holiday shopping list, you’ll have these items in the back of your mind as you shop for other goods and services over the next three months. Set a goal to have your holiday shopping completed by a specific date to avoid burnout and low inventory. Most stores have extended shopping hours, so don’t shop at peak times. Grab a peppermint mocha and hit the stores early in the morning or later in the evening.

If you’re too busy or don’t shop much, set aside a few days on your calendar to shop or take advantage of online shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This gives you the opportunity to get every gift purchased, wrapped, and put away so you can actually sit back and enjoy the rest of the season.

4.   Choose unique gift ideas this year.

You don’t have to choose a specific item as a gift. Some people might be really tough to shop for or seem to have everything already.

Think of creative gift ideas to avoid long lines at the mall. Does Aunt Edith love your pumpkin cupcakes? Bake her a dozen or two. Is Uncle Jack always hinting that he needs help around the yard? Offer up a family day of yardwork.

Wish you could spend more time with your family and friends? Offer your family and friends an experience with the added benefit of quality time together. Go wine tasting, take a dinner cruise, or enjoy a spa day. Hyper-local daily deal websites like Groupon or LivingSocial provide a variety of options and huge discounts on fun activities in your city.

5.   Set aside gifts for mailing and hiding.

One year, I was so proud of myself for finishing all my Christmas shopping over a month in advance. However, five days before Christmas, I realized I still needed to ship some of the items. Doh! If you send the gifts early, you can avoid paying extra to ensure the gifts arrive in time for Christmas. Try to have gifts in the mail no later than December 10. Even better, order items online with free shipping and have them shipped directly to the gift recipient.

Be certain to hide your gifts in a safe and secret place in your home. Make sure each gift is wrapped and labeled before you put it away. This will keep little, nosy eyes from finding out what Santa is bringing and it will save you time on Christmas Eve. Set aside a special envelope for all the gift receipts in case anyone wants to return or exchange their gift.

When was the last time you had a chance to sit back and relax?

During this Christmas season, take time to enjoy your family and friends. Simplify the season. Savor your holiday traditions. Organize your Christmas shopping so you’ll have less holiday stress and more holiday cheer.

Charmin Calamaris

Charmin is a wife, mom of two boys and creator of the Momiverse. The Momiverse is an online magazine for busy moms (is there any other kind?) dedicated to helping moms make time – and take time – for themselves. She traded in her career in land use planning and environmental policy to become Chief Executive Navigator of the Momiverse. You can connect with Charmin in her “online office” on Twitter or Facebook.

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AlissaHackett December 15, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Make a list – underestimated basis, so important! All Christmas
tasks should be treated with the same system as the work tasks are:
write down in ‘to do’ list on Kanban board and control what’s in
progress, what’s done, what’s waiting (like here:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/517491813408373183/ )… Just plan (and
follow the plan) in the easiest possible way!