Do you promise yourself each year not to wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping? Is your list of who to buy for getting longer and longer each year? Does your search for thoughtful Christmas gifts get more difficult and does your available time to buy gifts for Christmas get shorter and shorter?
There’s Christmas shopping for family to do. Christmas shopping for friends — and that includes boyfriends and girlfriends. Presents for kids. For parents. For grandchildren and for coworkers. Do last minute Christmas gifts seem to take forever to find and does it seem nearly impossible to sort out what’s right for who?
Christmas can be a stressful time. It’s hectic to fit a big shopping list into a not-so-big budget, and the pressure really comes on when you have an even more limited time frame to get it all done. Moreover, it gets even worse when you’re disorganized and feel like you’re not accomplishing your goals or staying within your budget.
What you need is a Christmas gift-buying guide with tips on how to organize, prioritize and monetize your Xmas season’s shopping. This Christmas gift-buying guide provides some of the best pointers on saving time, determining how much money to spend, shopping the deals and generally the best idea on what to buy for everyone on your list.
Does time seem to run faster the closer it gets to Christmas day? Maybe it just seems like that, but as each day ticks off and moves closer to December 25th, most people are still not finished with their holiday shopping. In fact, some haven’t even started. Does this sound like you?
Well, relax. The biggest time thief in buying gifts for Christmas is disorganization and it’s easy to fix. Here are some of the most time-effective ways to organize your time and make your Christmas shopping less stressful.
A big trap in wasting time and going over budget is not knowing exactly who to get for whom, no matter how small the item may be. Making a list and prioritizing it will save you immense time in aimlessly walking from store to store wondering who wanted what and what’s best for whom. This is one of the most important Christmas shopping tips because it can also help to ease the pressure off frantically finding those last minute Christmas gifts.
Being generous at Christmas time, as most people are, your list is probably going to be longer than the digits in your bank balance. Generosity is a good thing but it can go too far if you’re not keeping track. Not everyone on your list is going to get an equal share of your limited budget and that’s okay.
The best way to prioritize your list is to determine who is at the top and then work backward. Your immediate family will likely come first, followed by relatives, friends, coworkers and so on.
Another big seasonal time vulture is going from store to store in the hope you’ll see exactly what you’re looking for at exactly the right price. If you search long enough, this just might happen, but it defeats the whole purpose of cutting down the amount of time you spend Christmas shopping.
Big box or department stores usually present the biggest selection at a decent, competitive price and this is great — as long as you know what you want and have it on your list. One-stop shopping is the single, best time saver. If you really need to go to different stores, this concept extends to staying in just one mall.
Many consumers’ shopping habits have changed from shopping at physical stores and followed the mass-movement to online shopping. This is one-stop, one-store shopping at its best.
Online shopping is incredibly popular. It’s taking a large share of the Christmas present buying market. Not only is online shopping convenient, there are tremendous time and money savings gained over dealing with bricks and mortar stores.
The selection and convenience of online shopping are only going to increase as the shipping and delivery support services improve. It may be a while yet before drones are replacing Santa Claus, however, the nationwide distribution of products ordered online come quite quickly. Many are dependably air-shipped overnight in most cases and certainly take not more than three days by ground. Deliveries are common on Saturdays with occasional Sunday and holiday drop offs.
Many online retailers give 100% guarantees that purchases made as late as December 20th will be at your door, or the door you ship to, no later than Christmas Eve. Many online stores will also wave their shipping fees for orders over a certain amount. For example, purchase amounts for waived shipping fees at these online retailers are:
· Macys.com — Orders over $99
· Bloomingdales.com — Orders over $150
· Apple.com — Orders over $50
· Drugstore.com — Orders over $25
· Barnesandnoble.com — Orders over $25
· Landsend.com — Orders over $50
· Amazon.com — Orders over $25
Using online shopping coupons is another excellent cost-savings tool. If you go to an online store, simply search for “Coupons” or “Specials” and find the deals. Then copy the coupon code and enter it in your checkout box.
Signing up for the newsletters of online stores is another effective way of being alerted when specials are offered, especially when critical shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are approaching. More on this in a bit.
This is a dilemma for practically every Christmas shopper regardless whether you shop online or walk through the malls. Earning and saving money is difficult compared to disposing of it, and it’s just as important to be organized about spending your money as it is to wisely budget your shopping time.
Setting a realistic budget and avoiding impulse buying is part of the Christmas gift buying process. So is figuring out what to get family members, friends, coworkers and that special someone in your life. Here are some tips on getting that right.
Let’s face it — there are very few of us with pockets deep enough to say we don’t have a limited amount of Christmas funds. When setting a budget, err on moderation’s side. Ask yourself how much you can reasonably afford to spend on Christmas, and that shouldn’t be just for gifts. That should include wrappings, decorations and shipping costs as well as your own costs for travel, food and even Christmas cheer.
Be specific, not rough, in how much you have to spend. Failing to set specific and realistic spending limits leads to overspending as well as post-Christmas debt and remorse. Making a list and setting a definite budget is a sure way to avoid the deadly Christmas trap of impulse buying.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the Christmas rush and holiday spirit. The stores are brightly decorated and soothing carols are played. Everything screams Christmas consumption and some of the attractive, big-ticket items are prominently displayed and properly discounted.
Marketers and financial researchers are highly aware of the “shopping momentum effect” and will tap into your inner spendthrift. It’s proven there’s a psychological thrill happens when buying one item. With a good salesperson, it can fuel more unplanned and unnecessary purchases.
Knowing who you’re going to buy for, what you’re going to get and how much you’re going to spend starts with your list and who you’ve prioritized. The question is — how much and for who? Usually, at the top of the list are the direct members of your family.
Did you ever hear the Christmas present buying rhyme that goes “Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read”? Wherever it came from, it pretty well sums up how most people have historically gone about Christmas shopping for family.
How much you set for each family member really depends on how many members you have and how much you can afford. Consider that family members far more appreciate your thought that’s gone into their Christmas gift rather than what the present is or what dollar value is attached.
When Christmas shopping for family members, consider some alternative gifts such as:
Okay, this one can be tough. It doesn’t take a huge, wrapped present under the tree to say, “I love you.” Probably the first thing in deciding how much to spend on your boyfriend or girlfriend is how long the relationship has been going. Then decide on what to get them.
Too much, too early, could be a dangerous turn-off as could too little, too late. The best bet is to feel the other person out as to expectations and it might just be a win-win to compromise. A mutual experience like a dinner at a favorite restaurant or a getaway may be just the right relationship gift. Of course, you can’t ever go wrong with sending that special someone their favorite food for Christmas.
Christmas shopping for other friends depends on who they are and how close you are with them. As they say, it’s the thought that counts and it doesn’t have to be much. Also, don’t get caught in an unreasonable expectation that gift-giving between friends has to be reciprocal.
An ideal gift for friends is a gift basket, whether you prepare that yourself or have one professional made. You can deliver it yourself or have it easily and promptly shipped wherever they are on the continent.
Corporate gift baskets are also ideal presents for coworkers. That doesn’t just have to be people in your office or wherever you work. People like your hairdresser, your dog walker, your cleaner and even your letter carrier will be thrilled by the token of appreciation your gift basket shows.
Prepared gifts aren’t limited to baskets. There are many varieties of gift trays, gift boxes and gift towers available at local retailers, as well as a huge online assortment of professionally packaged products. Online gift baskets, towers and trays are available in a wide price range and come with prompt, guaranteed delivery. Baskets may be the perfect Christmas gift solution for coworkers.
Once you know who to buy for and what to get them, the challenge becomes how to work within your budget. Shopping the deals is the trick to making it all fit.
Deals are where you find them. Some companies hide their deals, though you can flush them out with a bit of research or networking that alerts you when they’re offered. You might stumble upon that perfect present for the perfect price early in the year, and then hide it away till the big day comes.
Starting your search for deals early is a big boost in saving time and sticking to your budget—or knowing how much money is left in the budget as Christmas gets near. Keep your eyes peeled even in the heat of summer when stores offer special stock clearances for seasonal changes.
The internet is now your Christmas shopping best friend — not just for online buying — for alerting you to what deals companies offer and when they’re coming up. Outside of big players like Amazon and EBay, there are many smaller, boutique online stores who supply virtually anything you can imagine, and they’re pleased to alert you to upcoming specials.
Some of the new computer apps are a super way of shopping. ScanLife will scan a product’s barcode and tell you what local or online merchant has the best price. The FastMall app contains the maps and layouts of over 1,250 malls nationwide (including where the washrooms are) and even shows “You Are Here.” Then there’s MyShoppingCircle, where you can find a great buy and post it for your circle of shopping friends to see.
Also, make sure to do your homework in product research by checking reviews on Amazon.com and Cnet.com, as well as finding the best online price through a comparison-shopping site like Pricegrabber.com.
Black Friday is the physical retail industry’s biggest sales event and happens the day after Thanksgiving. It started in 2005. Now, many stores open for business on the stroke of midnight with deal-hungry shoppers lining up outside for hours. There are incredible Christmas gift deals on Black Friday — if you don’t mind the crowds.
You can save a lot of time hunting Black Friday deals ahead of time by watching particular stores’ websites, newsletters and other advertising. Also, use the website BlackFriday.org, which searches competitor sites and lists the best values for your Christmas gift choice.
Cyber Monday is the first Monday after Thanksgiving. It’s an online spin-off from the success physical retail stores have had with Black Friday. Cyber Monday is the largest online shopping day of the year and offers superb bargains.
If you shop carefully, it goes beyond a one-day event with deals found year-round at the website CyberMonday.com. On the actual day, though, this site tracks and promotes special deals that give additional discounts as well as bonus points and value links to many online sites.
Cyber Wednesday is a relative newcomer to the online shopping world. It takes place on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving and is full of special online deals and discounted promotions.
If you spend time searching holiday deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Cyber Wednesday you’re sure to save a lot of time and money in finding that perfect Christmas gift. Internet shopping will go a long way in solving the problem of what to buy everyone.
A truly unique, versatile Christmas present for just about anyone on your list is a gift basket, a gift tray or a gift tower. These thoughtful presents are useful and appreciated, not to mention luxurious.
Broadway Basketeers is a leading online supplier of gift baskets that come in a tremendous variety of goodies and a wide range of prices that will fit your budget for family members, friends and coworkers. So why not send food for Christmas? You might just find something perfect for that special one.
Broadway Basketeers guarantee complete satisfaction and prompt delivery for your online Christmas shopping order. They’re beautifully packaged, not to mention functional and delicious. Christmas gift baskets turn present giving into a form of art.
At Broadway Basketeers we understand that giving a gift basket is more than just sending a present. It’s representing and conveying your thoughts and true feelings to a distant friend or relative when you can’t be there.