Time to Breathe: Top Tips for Getting Your Christmas Shopping Done Earlier This Year

Every year, it’s the same rigmarole: you wait until the middle of December to start your Christmas shopping. This year, you’ve promised to change your ways. Here’s how to get the shopping done early so you’ll have more time for other holiday preparations.

Know Who You’re Buying For

Make a list of people that you want to buy gifts for. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but having a list will make things easier to sort and organize. And, you’re less likely to forget someone important.

Make a Spreadsheet

Now, make a spreadsheet in Google Docs, or something similar. Invite everyone on your list to contribute to the spreadsheet. You’ll be making an “ideas” list. It’s common for people to think that buying gifts spontaneously is the way to go. But, unless you really know the person, this can often result in bad gift-giving.

Having people help you out, by making a list of things that they might want to receive, is a great way to minimize Christmas fluff. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of gift-giving too. And, you don’t have to get overly specific with it either.

If someone expresses an interest in getting new dishes, blankets, sheets, or cool gadgetry, you could sign up to Bed Bath & Beyond’s list via email so that you get ideas, coupons and offers, related to housewares that a friend or loved one might want.

Keep Your Eyes Open For Sales

Keep an eye out for sales and Black Friday deals. Most large stores run sales in the days leading up to Christmas. And, of course, Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the entire year.

Don’t Buy Perishable Items

Don’t buy things that will go bad. A popular gift right now are those layered dry cake recipe in a mason jar things – you know the ones. Be careful what you put in there, if you’re doing something like this.

Know How Long Homemade Projects Will Take

If you’re knitting a sweater or a blanket, make a timeline for it. Know how long it will take to complete. A knitting project might take 8 months to do right. Don’t start 3 months before Christmas.

Know What You’re Buying

It’s not unusual for people to buy things for other people where the gift giver doesn’t fully understand the significance of the gift to the recipient. For example, if you’re buying a NASCAR-themed gift for someone, chances are the recipient has a personal interest in NASCAR and, like any fan, there are specifics that you have to get right for it to be a good gift.

Let’s say the recipient likes a particular driver. You can’t just go out and buy any old NASCAR-themed shirt or hat, or memorabilia because that won’t interest the person nearly as much as getting something related to their favorite driver.

Likewise, if you’re buying something for a baseball fan, make sure you know their tastes. If the person is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, do not, under any circumstances, buy Yankee-branded items, and vice versa. You might not think it’s a big deal, but you’ll likely kick off a huge fight, and the person will absolutely hate the gift.

Angelyn Lee is a working mom who has also had a retail career and loves to share her ideas on how to shop and prepare for family events like Christmas. She enjoys providing her tips and suggestions online and writes regularly for a number of family and lifestyle websites.

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