Early Christmas shopping saves all that last-minute rushing around. If you have a plan set you can be more effective, save money, and enjoy the Christmas season more.
Know who you are buying gifts for. Some people only shop for close family and friends. Other people put together Christmas presents for co-workers, the postal worker, the dog walker, hairdresser, plumber, poker buddies, kid’s teacher, and more. Decide on what you are comfortable with.
Set a budget. Christmas presents should figure into your household or personal budget for the entire year, instead of just trying to find extra money somehow every November or December. You can always start by saving a small amount every month.
- Keep a general idea of how much you will spend on each person. For instance, you will likely spend more money on your immediate family than on a co-worker.
Decide on what sort of gift matches each person on your list. What do they like? Movies, books, games? Have a rough idea of what presents would please the people on your list. brainstorm ideas. Write the ideas down on your list. Listen to the person or other people for ideas, and write them down too. Keep this list in an easy-to-carry form, like tucked away in your wallet or checkbook for quick reference.
Start as early as the day following Christmas day. There’s no point in buying early if you’re going to buy for full price. Christmas shopping can start December 26th. Although you may feel the last thing you want to do is shop after the Christmas rush, stores often have incredible sales immediately after the holidays, and most items will be perfectly good gifts the next year.
- Check out sales throughout the year, such as at the end of summer.
- After-Christmas and Boxing Day sales are a good time to pick up wrapping paper and the like for the next year for a pittance.
Put off procrastinating. Many people end up shopping last-minute because they put off the inevitable. Instead, make a plan with solid goals, dates, and timelines.
- For instance, shopping will be done by December 20th. Put aside two evenings, twice a week for 2 weeks to accomplish this task. Leave some wiggle-room in case something comes up, but don’t keep making excuses. It can help to have someone who is good about shopping to keep you on track.
Have a shopping plan. Maybe you’re not the type of person who likes shopping, or don’t have the time to browse for Christmas presents all year long. Instead, put aside one period of time, like a weekend or a special shopping trip.
Keep track of presents. Don’t lose the present or forget who you bought it for.
- Have a designated area for presents, such as a tote, section of closet, or attic. Be sure that the present won’t be ruined by variations of temperature, humidity, mold, mice, and so on.
- Write the name of the designated gift-receiver on a removable sticker or piece of tape. That way you’ll remember who you bought it for. If you change your mind, it’s easy to re-designate. Cross their name off the list as soon as possible to avoid forgetting that you already bought them something.
Hide the gifts well. Hiding is the hardest part of buying a gift early, but it’s perfectly possible. If you live with the person, hide it in your craft cupboard, toy box, the back of a wardrobe, etc. and leave it inside backpacks or other opaque bags. It’s best to choose somewhere the other person is not likely to look.