Behold! Christmas season is upon us. It seems each hear this rush begins way before the sacred “day after Thanksgiving” tradition. We already found the 24 hour Christmas music radio station, ads are all over the internet and I caught a glimpse of Elf on TV last night. This is my favorite time of year because the stuck up, suburban aggression of Long Island seems to subside for the month of December. People are just more enjoyable.
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is enjoying these enjoyable people. I tend to go out for coffee and walks more. I just want to soak up everyones jolliness.
The only problem with the Christmas season? Parking. The line at the grocery store. Budgeting. Greed. Someone jamming the back of a shopping cart into your ankles. Politely saying that you’re fine and holding back tears. Being shoved by someone’s child. Reconsidering if you want kids to begin with. Asking yourself “what’s the point?”. Rethinking how a Christian holiday got so out of control. Rethinking religion. Rethinking your purpose. Thinking about shaving your head and moving to India to help the underprivileged. You could do that Eat, Pray, Love thing, just like Julia Roberts you tell yourself as a dad grabs the last Easy-Bake-Oven.
They all just come with the territory.
That’s why I do %99 of my shopping before Thanksgiving. Think about it – how many times do a love one mention something they want in like, June. Best suggestion? Write it down, save for it, and make the purchase when convenient. I’ve used this tactic for the past two years and it has helped my finances immensely. That way I’m not shelling out hundreds of dollars in one month. This also helps me get people what they actually want.
So, here are my seven tips.
- Do the majority of your shopping out of season – think Labor Day and President’s Day sales.
- Don’t be afraid to ask people what they want! Especially if they’re adults or living in a dorm, apartment or a traveler. Your job is easier and they get what they want. Win-win.
- Do keep a present inventory. Whether it’s a spreadsheet, phone list or simply pooling those presents together in one closet, make sure you’re keeping an eye on how much you need to get.
- Make a budget breakdown. I personally spend more money on my mom than I did on my employer. Break it down. Keep it simple.
- Donate – if you can. Using BOGO deals or picking up an extra can of soup or dog biscuits is a nice way to give to those less fortunate during the holiday season. These tips are given to those who can afford to get gifts. A lot of people out there will be more concerned with feeding their family on Christmas than that Cashmere sweater you’ve had your eye on.
- Gather extras – I always grab some extra candles, mugs and scarves from Marshalls for those last minute gifts. Buying them in non-holiday colors and themes ensures I can use the left overs all year long.
- Remember what it’s all about! Christmas and the holiday season is about spending mindful time with the people you love – whether it’s your logical or biological family.
I hope your Christmas is as magical and stress free as mine is!
I’ll be sharing a list later in the week on a couple of the cool finds I’ll be giving this year.