How to Ace Holiday Shopping in 2017
Did last year’s holiday shopping put a huge dent in your savings account? You wouldn’t be alone in regretting your purchases. Some estimates put 2016’s holiday spending at $1 trillion. And according to this Time article, 76 percent of adults put off shopping for holiday gifts until the last minute.
But putting it off to the last minute means you are at the mercy of whatever is left on the shelves. And chances are high you won’t be able to get those personalized koozie favors that you know your mother will love.
Did you know that 3 out of 4 are stressed out about holiday gift giving? Sound familiar? And how do you have a better gift giving experience this year? Here are a couple tips that will allow you to enjoy the holiday gift exchange without the stress.
- It’s never too early to have a plan.
Think that immediately after summer is too early to start thinking of holiday gifts? Think again. Having a plan is key to preventing the last-minute panic attacks that come when you have nothing wrapped the day before Christmas.
The first part of having a plan? Writing up a list of everyone who you need to give a gift to. This will likely include all members of your family, your closest friends, and possibly some vocal and annoying coworkers. (The ones who will show their displeasure if they receive nothing.)
- Decide on a budget.
Shopping for gifts is better defined when you have a clear budget that you work within. This has double benefits. This is not only good for your wallet. But no one wants to be the recipient of an expensive gift that comes along with the feelings that a gift of equal monetary value must be returned. If you have been receiving gifts that are overpriced, or outside of the range you want to be spending money on, do not escalate the situation. Simply spend the amount that you feel comfortable spending. Your friends and family will get the hint soon enough.
- Divide and conquer.
Part of step 1 was having a list, part of step 3 is conquering this list. If you have a partner, have a brainstorming session together about what would be an appropriate gift. A great source of ideas for gifts are people’s Amazon wish lists. Do some sleuthing over the next couple of weeks to listen to what they are showing an interest in. A surprising benefit to paying more attention to your friends and family’s desires? The power of active listening is that you have a stronger relationship with them as a result.
- Experiences are a treasure.
For those who are easy to please on your list, consider gifting an experience. This will endow the Christmas gift with more meaning than a consumable product, which might end up being tossed out next year.
Ideas of experiences to gift include a language learning course. (Of course, make sure that this is a stated interest of the recipient.) A travel coupon. Ice skating lessons, museum or concert tickets.
And if you have been bemoaning a lack of time spent with your pals? Gift an experience that you both can share and enjoy together. For example, beer or wine tasting at a local winery. Or amusement park passes.
- For that person who is impossible…
While most people will aim for giving a gift around a hobby, you should know that everyone else in their circle will be doing the same. For that person who is difficult to shop for, go for a food item. Don’t discount a bottle of fancy wine, or a food basket. A cash amount to a charity in their name, or a tree planted, or a star named after them are all ideas that are sure to please the egocentric.
The important thing to remember is that you do not want to leave your holiday shopping to the last minute. In one holiday consumer survey, it showed that 67 percent of shoppers planned to go to discount stores on Super Saturday. The chaos of Super Saturday is something you likely do not want nor need in your holidays this year. Besides, things that can are on the shelves of discount stores are likely to wind up in the gift boxes and bags coming from other members of your family.
This year, get your shopping done early enough so you can enjoy the loveliness of fall without anything weighing on your mind.