image via weheartit.com
Ohhh, it's that time of the year again! Employees are up on ladders hanging decorations while you hear the first strains of Christmas music playing on the radio. You pass by aisles now full of shiny ornaments and colorful toys. And if you are anything remotely like me... you're about dying to start your Christmas shopping! Ahem, actually I feel the urge to start xmas shopping the first time I pull on my boots for the season. hehe. However most people aren't such holiday lovers I suppose. ^_^ Wow, I'm really rambling today aren't I? I think someone had a little too much caffeine this morning. ^_^ So to get down to the point...as the holiday's grow closer, naturally we start to shop for all those fantastic gifts we'll be giving on December 25th. Here are some tips that I personally practice that I wanted to share and hope can be a help. :) Let's get started!
- Make your lists. Who do you need to buy for? Weed through and separate into groups. I personally sort my Christmas peeps into 4 sets; a) people who get cards. b) people who get cookies (or something like that). c) friends to buy for. d) family to buy for.
- It's a good idea to set a budget! It doesn't have to be solid, but at least set a general limit that you allow yourself to spend. Christmas is one of the worst times that people blow too much money! It is far to easy and ... ok it like happens to me EVERY YEAR. But I still try to keep a budget. :)
- Pay attention to the deals going on around you!! Get Sunday papers and look online for printable coupons. If you can save even a small percent it is usually worth it. You'd be surprised how much you will save in the long run.
- Try to put a lot of thought into what you would like to get people. I have a really hard time with this as I just like to go out and start shopping and see what catches my eye! But I think that's why I sometimes get carried away. And never buy a gift simply because you have to buy a gift. Put some thought into it and try to get people something they will really love or will be able to use! Not everyone wants a lavender scented bath set, and I'm guessing most guys out there really don't want or need another tie. (*raises hand* yeah I'm definitely guilty of this one... but hey, guys are hard to shop for!) Remember, a meaningful gift is always so much more special!
- Look at your homemade gift options. DIY is all the rage and these days it's pretty easy. Supplies are reasonably priced and tutorials can be found all over the web! Check out websites like Better Home & Gardens and Martha Stewart, and cruise around the DIY blog world to find some great projects. From hand made jewelry, bath salts & lip balm, to hand sewn felt toys and stationary sets... there are some really awesome and surprisingly easy handmade gifts to be given this season. Sure it might require a bit more of your time, but isn't that what makes homemade stuff so much better? Stay tuned... I'm sure I'll be sharing some of my holiday DIY projects on here soon!
- Now it seems there are usually two ways that people Christmas shop. Space it out throughout the next several weeks or go out and conquer it all at once! Hmm, personally I kind of do a bit of both. When it comes to candy, gift wrap, and other "grocery store" items I try to space it out and buy a little every week. But I like to make my mall and shopping center trips well worth it and try to get a lot checked off! So usually I plan my "big" shopping day in advance. That way I can get any coupons I think I might use ahead of time not to mention be able to set aside the funds needed! :)
- Ready for that big shopping day? Here are some tips that help me survive;
1) Don't dress too warm! Definitely make sure not to bring your coat in the mall, it's better to leave it in the car because you usually end up just lugging it around and that's no fun. I try to layer and dress a little bit lighter than I normally would in the Winter. So no wool tights for this girl!
2) Wear comfy shoes. I know you know this already. But it just had to be said. ^_^ My favorite picks are my Etnie sneakers and plain black flats. They never let me down!
3) Stay hydrated! I try to keep a drink handy at all times when I shop. It has duel purposes, fuel my thirst and remind me to take 10...when my drink is out I know it's time for a break and a refill! Grab a snack. Rest my feet. Make some phone calls. Check to see how my list is coming... breaks are important. Be sure to take a few!
4) Be patient. Breathe. The lines are going to be long, employees will be grouchy, little kids will scream and run around. It's just how it is! It can all add up a being a headache but just breathe through it and try to keep a smile on your face. :)
5) Take your time. Rushed shopping is never ever a good thing, if you are having second thoughts about something don't feel pressure! Take some time to think about it. You can always come back later.
- One of the best ways I keep organized during the holidays is to keep a notebook in my bag all the time! I write all of my holiday lists in there (there are tons of them.. i love lists.. hehe), keep track of what I buy and what still needs to be done. It really helps keep me on the right track and stay focused.
I hope you will find this helpful as you get through this season. Whatever you do, don't ever let the magic of Christmas die in your heart! It's a gorgeous time of the year, don't let anything ruin it for you. :) I wish you happy shopping! XO, Marie