Six Tips for
Stress-Less Holiday Shopping
By Susie Cortright
I confess that holiday shopping once felt like an
enormous, energy draining chore, and it was one that I dreaded all year. Now I
have found a way to really enjoy it. Here are some tips to help you take
pleasure in it, too.
1. Make it fun. Do whatever you need to do to make the prospect of holiday
shopping more enjoyable. Some people get energized by the mall, but, for me, the
mall is a big energy drain. Instead, I love to sit curled up in a big fleece
blanket with a cup of cocoa and a stack of catalogs. For weeks now, I have been
tearing out pages and circling gift ideas for my favorite people. It is fun to
get inspired in this way. Then, I will make my list and search for online
coupons for the stores I have selected (since I hardly every make an online
purchase without a coupon code.)
Whichever method of shopping is most fun for you, do it. Maybe you will go on a
special lunch date with your spouse and power shop for the kids. Maybe you will
make a daytrip to the most festive outdoor mall with some girlfriends.
Shopping can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season. Just make
sure you are doing it in such a way that it does not feel like just one more
thing you have to do this time of year. The key is planning ahead and asking
yourself what you really enjoy about the process of finding gifts.
2. Start with a budget. What is the dollar range that you wish to spend for each
person? Make sure you stay in a range you can afford. Nothing takes the fun out
of holiday shopping more than knowing you will still be paying off the bills
3. Plan ahead. I know that many people have all of their holiday shopping
completed in July, but I never have, and probably never will. However, I can get
myself to jot down notes throughout the year (in the back of my Daytimer) about
things that my family members have mentioned they like or would like to have.
Make notes of their favorite things to do, favorite places to go, favorite
brands of clothes, favorite games, favorite possessions. Sit for a minute and
brainstorm the possibilities. You might be surprised at the good ideas that pop
4. Shop online as much as you can. You can save significantly at the online
discount stores, such as Overstock and SmartBargains. Some sites will save you
sales tax; others will have items you would not find in your local mall. And you
can generally find a coupon code this time of year to save even more.
After you have been shopping online for some time, you may find (like me) that
most of your gifts come from the same two or three websites each year, and that
can save you money on shipping, too.
5. Save for the holidays throughout the year so you are not crunched come
December. It is easier for me to stay in the Christmas spirit if I do not have
to feel like I am searching for the best bargain on every single item. I would
rather find the exact perfect gift and then use a coupon code when purchasing it
online, rather than running all over town (or all over the world wide web) to
find it cheaper. That probably costs me a little more in the end, but it saves
me a ton of time.
6. Look for quality and personality, not quantity. Nothing squashes my Christmas
spirit more than focusing too much on the price tag. (Have I spent enough on
this person, have I bought her enough gifts? Will I give their family as many
presents as she will give my family?) When shopping takes on the air of
competition, it is no good. Look for things that are beautiful, lasting,
heartfelt, and sentimental.
Sometimes it helps to supplement something store bought with something handmade.
Buy or create a gift while trying to imagine the look on their faces when they
open the gift.
Susie Cortright is the founder of Momscape.com -
http://www.momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com,
where she hand picks only the very best online coupons. Check out her blog for
great Deals of the Day: