Waiting until the last minute to do our holiday shopping can be just downright stressful and who needs extra stress as a parent, especially if we have a child with special needs.
Many of us like to get our holiday shopping done early but find it difficult to accomplish. There are some parents who claim they shop better under pressure but many of us are somewhere in between.
Wherever you fall on this spectrum of holiday shopping preferences, there are pros and cons to all three:
Last minute shopping the week or even days before:
- Putting your holiday shopping off to the final days can make it incredibly difficult to find the perfect gift for each person on your shopping list.
- If lack of childcare means shopping with your child, it is unrealistic to expect a young child to join you in a shopping marathon.
- Furthermore if you wait until the last minute to finish your holiday shopping, you may be faced with a large credit card bill in January.
Early holiday shoppers who wrap it up well in advance:
- No need to deal with crowded shopping areas as hordes of other shoppers are also trying to complete their last minute holiday shopping.
- Completing your holiday shopping early will mean more time to relax and focus on quiet time with family or activities such as decorating, wrapping presents or baking cookies together – a very nice gift to give yourself and your children!
- Plus, finishing your holiday shopping early also gains you financial benefits such as taking advantage of sales and if you spread out your shopping over time, you also do not have to worry about paying for all of your purchases at once.
How to Get an Early Start on Holiday Shopping
Make a list – Sit down shortly after the holiday season to make a list of each person you plan to purchase gifts for in the following holiday season. You can also jot down a few gift ideas for each of these people as well. Creating a list at this time gives you a whole year to spend time searching for gifts for each member on your list. Once you have an idea of what to get each person you can begin tracking it down or watch for it to go on sale, which has the added benefit of saving you money.
Keep your list with you at all times – If you plan on getting your holiday shopping done early by shopping year round for friends or relatives, you should always keep your shopping list handy. Filing it away in your wallet or special place in your purse is a good place to always have it available when you need to refer to it.
Update your list regularly – Not only should you always carry your list with you, but you should also keep it up to date. As you purchase a gift for each person on your list, cross off their name and write down the actual gift you selected, especially if it was different from the gift idea you had written down originally. This will keep you from duplicating purchases because you forgot you had already purchased their gift.
Note where you keep your purchases – Raise your hand if you have ever purchased a gift early on only to forget where you put it! When you have small children that are great detectives, you need to find a secure place to store them. You may be lucky enough to keep all of your purchases in one spot but if you don’t have the room and have to use more than one hiding place, take note of it and put your treasure map in a safe place.
Set yourself a budget – Shopping throughout the year can cause you to lose track of how much you are spending on gifts because the bills blend in with regular monthly expenses. Create a budget for holiday gifts by determining ahead of time how much you wish to spend on each person on your list and try not to exceed that amount.
Despite the fact that this year is almost over, if you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, you still have time to get a head start. Two months may not be as much time as a year but for those of us who do not like to be rushed, it is much better than two weeks or two days.
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