Reducing Christmas Stress 1 – Shopping Early

The number one tip to remember when it comes to gift buying and decorating is not to wait until you have to get it done. Begin right now. Shopping early not only reduces stress by giving you more time, but it helps financially because you’re not forking over large sums of money (or putting it on your credit card) all at once. Not to mention the shipping at that time of year can be atrocious.

Every year, it seems the circle of people we know and buy gifts for increases. But you don’t have to rush around in the crowds and spend hours choosing individual gifts for each person on your list.

Create a Gift List

Make a list of everyone you feel you should buy a gift for. Beside each name, jot down an idea of something you know they like or might like. Starting today, begin to pick some of those items up.

Some family members are notoriously hard to buy for and instead of dealing with the question of what to get them, ask them to give you a suggestions list. Numbering from one to ten, have them write down what they’d like for Christmas in order of importance to them. This idea works well with teenagers.

Though as children my brother and I used to always create giant lists of toys that we wanted. There was definitely not a shortage of shopping ideas. We should make adults do this as well if you ask me.

Don’t be Afraid to Duplicate Gifts

What people don’t know don’t hurt them! Buy the same item for multiple people, especially (hopefully) when they’re not in the same social circle. You can give the same gift to your elementary child’s teacher as you do your high school teen’s teacher.

Though on this note, there is a woman at work who makes homemade soap for everyone every single Christmas. I love it and I think everyone else loves it as well. Not to mention the bars smell awesome. So giving everyone the same gift in a work environment or club can be a great way to save money and make sure no one is left out. For closer friends/acquaintances I would give those gifts in private unless it is a Secret Santa situation.

Some great gifts to buy in larger quantities include gourmet food boxes. The ones containing cheeses, meats and crackers make excellent ‘thinking of you’ Christmas gifts as do the food boxes with coffees and jellies.

You can buy decorative tins (no wrapping needed) and fill them with an assortment of hard candies. Just make sure you don’t put peppermint in the mix because it flavors other candies. Unless you are giving away a tin full of only colorful peppermints 🙂

You can also purchase new Christmas ornaments commemorating the year as gifts. These are great if you know people who have special hobbies, favorite colors, a love of animals, etc. Bookstore certificates are always a hit since most people love to read and you can order these right from home without getting out into the crowds.

When to Shop

Never go during a lunch break or right before closing to a store or a post office. While this might seem obvious it is also very tempting when you feel like time is running short. And I promise you that others will be thinking the exact same way and you will be caught in a line or fighting for items. Instead try going early in the morning, on a day off, or a couple hours after the traditional noonish lunch break.

If you know what your friends or acquaintances do as a hobby or a group of special items they like to collect, you can pick those up well before the holidays. If you do choose to go this route make sure you don’t waste lots of time waiting at a post office. You can get things mailed early and have the post office pick it up from the comfort of your own home.

Right from the comfort of your own home, you can buy shipping material (you can even get some supplies free), print out the postage and arrange a pickup from your home and the pickup is done at no charge to you. If you shop online and ship online, not only do you save time and beat the shipping crowd stress, but you gain time you can use in other ways to celebrate Christmas.

This is especially great with services like Amazon Prime now where you get the fast day shipping though the closer to Christmas the higher the chance that there might be delays. But they offer direct shipping and gift wrapping services so that is a plus.

Try to have a Deadline

Have a shopping deadline in mind. One way to beat the stress is to have a goal to be finished with all of the prep work for Christmas meals and shopping by Thanksgiving. It can be done if you start now.

When you normally start your Christmas shopping and decorating? Do you ever wish you started earlier? Let me know below.

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