Tips For Reducing Your Holiday Shopping Stress
I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween and I’m talking holiday shopping. I’m the first to complain when I see Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving. I am all about giving each holiday it’s due. Plus now that I have a child that can actually anticipate holidays, I don’t need him pestering about presents so far in advance.
On the other hand, there is no logic to cramming all that shopping into the month of December. I mean with so many other holiday things to do like holiday parties and visiting Santa, who can possibly do all that and not stress?! Not I. For me, slow and steady wins the race. So, here are some tips on how I keep holiday shopping stress free.
If you haven’t started yet, start now. There are two big benefits to this; time and money. Starting early means you have months to get your shopping done instead of weeks. No pushing your way through over crowded stores. No running around on Christmas Eve. No rushing from store to store because what you want is sold out. Expense wise, you get to spread the cost of the holidays over multiple months prior to the holidays. Unlike spreading the cost over multiple months after holidays, this method does not involve paying interest.
Make a list
Make a list but only be super specific when you have to be. For example, Tyler is at an age where he wants specific things. He wants to complete his collection of Ghostbusters mystery minis, and he wants certain Lego sets. Items for him are very specific. Hailey on the other hand is unable to voice her opinions. Therefore, her list might look more like: clothes, stuffed animal, educational toy. For my brother I might write model train equipment. Then anytime I find model train equipment on sale, I can buy him something and check him off my list. The less specific you can be for people, the better. Then you have a broader range of options and can find better deals. Of course, you want it to still be something they would want/need and like.
Put your list into a spread sheet
Make a spreadsheet listing each person or group of people you need to buy gifts for in the first column. For example, individuals I need to buy gifts for include, my hubs, Tyler and Hails, my nephews, my mom, my brother, etc.. Groups might be my aunt and uncle, Tyler’s teachers, etc. In the next column list what you plan on purchasing them. If they are getting more than one item, make a new row for each item. The next 3 columns are as follows: bought, wrapped, delivered/shipped. You could of course do this by hand, but I love the clean look of spreadsheets! Print out your completed list and bring it with you wherever you go. If you are not sure what to get someone, leave their line blank. You can fill it in when you get inspired. Now anytime you find something that someone on your list would like, you can check it off your list. No more over buying because you forgot you already got something. This also keeps track of your wrapping so you won’t get behind on that either. Check out my sample spreadsheet below. Note that this is not my actual list incase these people are reading my blog…
Make 2 lists for your kids
If you have been through any gift giving occasion with kids before, you know you will be bombarded with questions from relatives of what to get your kids. Be prepared. Once you make the list of things that you will be getting your kids yourself, make a second list of things that they want or need. Keep this second list with you as well or give it to your husband, but not both. You need to have a designated go to person for this list. You don’t want both parents giving items out because the whole purpose here is to avoid multiples of the same gift. Now when someone asks what to get your kids, your go to person can give them items from your list. Be aware that these people may not necessarily get the item you suggest to them, but you can hopefully prevent multiples of the same gift. You also avoid the texts back and forth “did you get so and so this?”, “No, OK then I’m getting it”, “OK so then what should I get them now?”…. You can always hold onto the list and if your kids didn’t get the item for Christmas, now you already have a list for their birthday!
I hope you find this list helpful! Do you have tips to reduce holiday shopping stress?? If so leave your tips in the comments!
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.