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.
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.