As soon as November begins, the festivities and chaos of the holiday season start looming on the horizon. For most people, buying holiday gifts for friends and family is one of the tasks that contributes to stress at this time of year. The process involves combatting crowded shopping centers, sticking to a budget, and finding the perfect item for everyone on your list—but with a little strategizing, you can successfully complete your holiday shopping while staying sane. Here are some tactics to keep in mind:
- Make a budget early. Before the holiday season really gets hectic, list out all of the people to whom you plan to give gifts. Determine the maximum amount you are willing to spend on each person, remembering to include holiday bonuses you may give to people like your nanny or hairdresser. Use this budget as a guide as you shop. This will help to ensure that you don’t forget any recipients—and are not facing staggering bills in January.
- Schedule your shopping trips. As the holidays approach, shopping centers will be bustling with activity, particularly at peak times. To avoid the crowds, stay out of the stores on weekends and during lunch hours or after work on the weekdays. The ideal time to shop is on weekday mornings when the crowds are at bay and the shelves are well-stocked. It also helps to know exactly what you intend to buy from each store in order to minimize the frustration of browsing aimlessly.
- When shopping online, see if the retailer offers the option of an in-store pickup as opposed to having the item shipped to your home. This will allow you the convenience of shopping at your leisure—without having to incur the cost of shipping fees.
- Turn to technology. Out of ideas on what to get the friend or family member who has everything? Of course, there is an app for that. The app Gift Plan, as well as the gift finder tool at gifts.com, will make helpful suggestions based on details about your intended recipients.