I’ve Already Started Christmas Shopping … Have You?

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Yup, I said it. Christmas shopping. It’s September, which means it is time to start on my shopping list. I am not sure exactly what it is about Christmas, but I love it. I love the lights, the music, the movies and, of course, the presents. I love to give presents. I think it is fun to shop for them, wrap them and see the recipient open them. When you add Santa in to the mix…A-MAZING!

While it may be my OCD-ness coming out, or it could be that I am trying to make the Christmas season last longer, I start shopping early. By early I mean that I am halfway done at this exact second.

Annelise mailing her Santa letter at Macy's.
Annelise mailing her Santa letter at Macy’s.

Don’t roll your eyes … just hear me out. If you start early, that means you finish early. You have time to enjoy the holiday weekends and festivities with your family rather than be in the mall or tied to a computer shopping online. It also means you avoid the crazy people who go to stores during the holidays, the long lines, stores being picked over and the rush! There is no need to pay for express shipping or stalk the “track my package” feature if all of your presents are already bought before the madness begins.

If you start early you can take your time in selecting gifts your family and friends will love, and it won’t seem like a chore because you have more time. It also means that you can take advantage of sales and free online shipping as you see the sales happen.

If you are considering shopping early and are buying in to this strategy so far, don’t let me lose you on the next step.

Keep a master shopping list. Depending on your preference, this could be on actual paper, in the notes section of your iPhone or on a spreadsheet on your computer. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for including Santa gifts. Then, as you think of ideas, jot them down on your list and as you buy, mark down what you bought. This will help keep you organized. Plus, if you find an item that you are considering purchasing, you have a quick reference handy to check if you have bought for that person already or not.

Once I finish Christmas shopping I save this list. Why? Because then I have a reference point of what I gave that person last year. So when you are racking your brain of what to buy you have a history and either don’t duplicate or can build on an item from year-to-year.

Not to scare you but I do this for birthdays as well. For me it is easier to get things on paper and out of my brain. With a 3 year old I don’t trust myself to remember anything. This has also proven helpful, as I will refer back to the list of when my daughter was a certain age to see what she got as presents. This helps me to remember what she liked at younger ages as I am purchasing presents for other kids.

Since Santa is now on my list, it is also a way that I can keep tabs on what was in her stocking from Santa last year that I want to make an annual thing.

If you are really advanced, then put your list in a spreadsheet and make tabs for each year by birthday and Christmas. That is how mine is because I can’t lose the computer but I can lose paper.

Set yourself a deadline goal. My goal is always to be done by Thanksgiving, even earlier would be better. I want to be far away from the madness that takes place in retail stores from late November to early January.

Early Christmas shopping made easy:

  • Start early. Now would be good!
  • Determine your budget.
  • Make a list of who you need to buy for and track your purchases.
  • Set a deadline.
  • Make fun holiday plans with your little one during the time you used to spend shopping.
  • Enjoy the fact that you are finished your shopping by December 1.
  • If need be, mock the stressed, crazy people at the store.

Are you an early shopper like me? Or do you “enjoy” the madness of the mall in December?

The New Orleans Moms Blog team is also excited to bring you our 2nd annual shopNOLA Holiday Gift Guide – we encourage all of you to shop local when possible, and we’ll publish a list of our favorite ideas in early November so that you, too, can get a head start!

shopNOLA teaser

5 COMMENTS

  1. I am an early shopper too! I have already started. I am usually finished before December. But I must admit that on the flip side of being early and avoiding the rush I also LOVE Black Friday shopping. It has become a family tradition. Sometimes I only have a few more gifts to buy but still go for the experience.

    I too have a list. In fact I actually have a “Christmas Notebook” that has the gift list for every year. I keep a separate “gift” list on my phone for on the go when I have ideas or buy something for someone.

    Glad I’m not the only OCD Christmas shopper out there. 🙂

  2. I keep a yearly spreadsheet too, and it also includes my budget for each person, how much I’ve spent on them so far and gift ideas. I’m glad to see it’s not just me! :-). I once left my printout of it at the checkout counter, and when I returned to get it (because it had that day’s purchase notes!), all of the cashiers in the store were “Oohing and Aahing” over it. Now it’s time to start the 2013 tab!

  3. I also keep a spreadsheet of ideas for each person because I always forget when good ideas pop into my head. I try to stay on a strict budget for each person because it just makes it easier. I love Christmas shopping so I usually start in August so I guess you could say I am also a OCD Christmas shopper. However, the past few years I have been doing a lot of my shopping online. I like to use sites like DealDash because they are unique ways to get great gifts for cheap. It also allows me to save some money that I can spend on another person.

  4. I’m totally an early Christmas shopper too, but this year I’m getting a late start. My daughter is easy to shop for, but I always have a hard time with my husband. I’m going to get the typical books/socks, etc. but I just ordered him some scotch rocks and grill accessories from Brookstone. I used SAVE929 to get $10 off my order, but you can other coupon codes using their coupon site (http://www.brookstone.com/brookstone-coupons). Just thought I’d share for anyone else looking for ideas for their tough-to-shop for loved ones on their list!

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