Christmas is just around the corner and whether you are celebrating or not, it is the season of gifts, family and celebrations! Regardless of age, gender and religion, people all around the world indulge in the Christmas spirit because of many reasons, and fancy gifts definitely tops the list ;)
Here is how to manage Christmas shopping this year:
What To Do?
1 . Prioritise/Maintain Your Shopping List
Your mind must be flooded with names of people you want to buy gifts for. In the midst of busy shopping, you may even miss out a few and will not hear the end of it till next year. Maintain a list of names. This could be on your phone or the old-fashioned way of writing it down in your notebook. Once you have finalised the list, rearrange in the order of importance. Everybody is important, so you may have a difficult time doing so, but it is essential in case you exceed your budget.
2 . Set a Budget
Allocate a margin for each person + determine the total budget.
This is important so that you do not exceed your budget and can include all your loved ones in your Christmas shopping list.
Once you’ve allocated a certain amount for each person, add the separate costs to see if it exceeds the total budget. Be mindful of the sort of gifts you want to buy when allocating a margin for each person, so you can avoid the uncomfortable situation of having to spend more when actually shopping.
3 . Create a Calendar
Now that you know what and who to buy for, let’s decide when to buy these gifts. If you are comfortable with using a pocket calendar, go for it! If not, let’s stick to the virtual calendar in your phone where you can easily make notes. It also minimises the risk of leaving behind the list at home when shopping.
4 . Group Similar Gifts and Places to Buy
Who, what and when is decided. Now let’s see how to buy these gifts. You do not have to buy all the gifts on the same day, from the same place. After making notes in the calendar, you can group gifts according to its type, considering if it can be bought from the same place. After you group the places, you can decide which places you will be visiting when. Make a note of places that are close by to each other so you can shop on the same day.
How to Enhance Your Efficiency
1 . Ask Help from Family and Friends
It is always best to ask family and friends if this is your first time shopping for Christmas gifts. Even if it isn’t, they might know places with good deals because of previous shopping experiences. Who knows! They may even hint at the gift they want and it will make your shopping process much easier.
2 . Use Apps and Wish Lists
There are many tools that can help you to manage Christmas gift ideas. You can either choose a specific app such as Christmas Gift List Manager By Simon North or free apps that can help you to effectively manage tasks such as time management, setting reminders and handling the budget.
Another effective method to manage your Christmas shopping and gift ideas is through wish lists. You can download an app or set an online wish list registry where friends and family can list items they want. You can also ask them to use the wish list feature provided by most online stores or marketplaces so you know exactly what to buy them for Christmas.
3 . Use Phone Reminders/Sticky Notes
It is normal to miss out on certain tasks because of your busy schedule, but if you constantly postpone having to shop for Christmas, it will become hectic for you at the last moment. Therefore, maximise on the use of technology. When you make a note on the virtual calendar on your phone (as recommended before), set a reminder (two days prior to the actual deadline) at the same time. If you don’t like having to deal with technology all the time, paste sticky notes as reminders in places where you can frequently see them, such as the refrigerator and bathroom door or office wall.
4 . Social Media
Social media is one of the best channels for Christmas shopping. You will come across a lot of small-scale retailers extending various unique gift options. Not only that; it is also easy to track businesses’ Facebook pages for promotions and seasonal deals if you are a frequent social media user.
5 . Shop Online
The world has entered a digital era and so has shopping! If you are tired or too busy to physically visit stores, sweat no more! You can reach out to many global sellers through the internet, specifically via online marketplaces. Be mindful of the shipping period if you are ordering with an international seller.
6 . Gift Vouchers/Cards
If you really don’t have time to go Christmas shopping for everyone, don’t feel so bad. Gift vouchers and cards are appropriate savers. Then again, be vigilant of the stores you choose to buy from and the receiver of the gift because they should be able to buy gifts that they like. A voucher/gift card from a video store to your grandmother might not be the most appropriate while your nephew will appreciate it.
Here are a few extra tips that will make your shopping experience much easier:
Manage a gift cupboard throughout the year. When you see a gift that a loved one in your list may like, buy it then and keep it stored to avoid rushed decision-making in Christmas shopping.
Keep an eye on sales and promotions to get the best deals. Almost all stores and retailers may introduce Christmas deals.
Make best use of vouchers/loyalty cards that you have received throughout the year. This could be the best time of the year to finally put them to use.
Wrapping is very important. Sometimes, it could make someone happier than the gift you have bought for them. The time and effort put to careful wrapping extends an indirect message about their importance in your life.
Pay attention to preferences of your family and friends. This will help you to buy gifts that they actually desire.
Don’t wait till the last moment to shop. That could be stressful and take away your Christmas spirit and joy. Instead, work on it a little bit every day. You don’t have to specifically allocate time to organise your shopping list and prioritise it. You can jot down on your phone while waiting for a cab or during lunch time, etc.
Don’t forget to chill and enjoy while shopping because Christmas comes only once a year.
Know when and where to shop so you can save time greatly. Make a mental note of which stores sell what, so it is easy for you when grouping gifts and places like recommended before.
Keep the receipts till late as buying gifts is a guessing game. For example, your nephew could have grown one size bigger than last year and cannot fit into the sweater you bought.
Do your research before finalising the gift list. Best quality for the lowest price is what you should aim for.
Garage sales are the best if you are looking for antique items with sentimental value.
Look at forums for unique gift ideas if you don’t like to treat your loved ones with traditional gifts.
Look out for competitions to win gifts. It is not only entertaining, but also easy on your wallet.
Treat yourself before anyone else. Before buying gifts for others, buy what you need.
If you are a secret santa for non-family individuals, it is acceptable to set a low budget for the gift.
Maintain a Christmas saving jar, so you don’t have to grill your wallet at the end of the year.
Be careful with the credit card as you may spend more than you hoped for. Stick to cash or debit card to avoid over expenditure.
Don’t buy unnecessary gifts just because they are on sale. If it is not on your list or if it cannot be added to the gift cupboard for next year, don’t buy it unless it is a great deal that is useful.
Do you find this article helpful? Did we miss out on any important tips? Let us know! Leave a comment below.