Yes, once again I’ve crossed off every last person on my Christmas shopping list before Halloween. Mom, Dad, Grandma, brother Steve, brother Jason, kids, nieces, nephews, even bus drivers, schoolteachers and the mailman. I’ve stockpiled hostess gifts, stocking suffers and a few random presents for those surprise exchanges that pop up every holiday. Everything’s already wrapped and tagged. Come December, I’ll be relaxing in a hot bath with a good book while the rest of the world scrambles to amass ratchet sets, bezel set diamond studs and the latest Tickle Me Elmo.
Why not join me? Besides the smug satisfaction you’ll enjoy from getting your holiday shopping out of the way early, you’ll get to actually appreciate the parties, the cookie baking, the egg nog, the mistletoe–even the relatives–without guilt.
So how’d I do it already? With a little advanced planning. You can get your Christmas shopping done early too, if you follow my lead. Here are my secrets:
Nine Christmas shopping tips (Hanukkah shopping tips too) to make the holidays easier:
Make a list. A little advanced planning goes a long way. Just like you do when you go to the grocery store, make a list. This way you’ll stay focused and finish the task fast. Before you shop, write down who you need to buy for, what you plan to spend and any ideas you have in mind based on individual tastes, hobbies, etc. Think: Did they mention a great book they want to read? A piece of jewelry they particularly admire? A movie they want to see? An item of clothing they like? A tool they had to have? A play that looked interesting? If you’re stumped, look for gift finders online. Many popular web sites have special holiday gift collections broken down by gender, age, tastes, price, etc. If you want to give something truly memorable, think back to the truly memorable gifts you’ve received. My favorites have been a basket full of little things I love, like books, lotions, bath stuff, etc.; a subscription to the New York Times daily crossword puzzle online; a three-course dinner prepared with all my favorite foods, and a gorgeous black baroque pearl bracelet. Think back to gifts you’ve given that have been a hit. What were they? Who enjoyed them?
Shop online. This is the best tip of all. Once I got a computer, holiday shopping was no longer a chore I dreaded. It actually became a breeze. Doing your Christmas shopping online saves time, money (with gas prices being what they are) and legwork. Best of all you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas. I can breeze through my entire list in under an hour, I have most everything within a week, and it’s delivered right to my door. And don’t worry about security: Shopping online is safer than shopping in stores. Far more credit card numbers are stolen in your presence by waiters, clerks, etc. than are stolen by hackers and phishers. 레플리카쇼핑몰
Narrow your list of sites. Over the years I’ve narrowed down my holiday shopping web sites to a few great e-tailers I use over and over. Some let me save my information in a password protected format so I just log in and shop. Once my shopping cart is full, I don’t have to retype my name and address, or the addresses I ship to. One caveat: Don’t store credit card data. Even though it’s probably not going to happen, hackers can and do steal your information. Best to retype your credit card number each time to be on the safe side.
The best news about site loyalty is that many sites offer incentives to repeat buyers. One 20% coupon can go a long way toward shaving your holiday gift budget!
Use e-tailers that have something for most everyone. I have one online jewelry store I shop at over and over because they have something for most everyone on my list. Last year I shopped for all the women on my Christmas shopping list in one 20-minute sitting. I got a trendy gemstone ring for my niece; a classic pearl necklace for my goddaughter, an inexpensive but high-quality pearl bracelet for my sons’ teachers, a pearl pendant for my friend and a pearl jewelry set for my mother. Shopping in one place made it easy to manage my task. I printed my receipt at the end and had a great reference for what I bought and what I still needed to buy.