‘Tis the season…already?


Christmas is in less than 3 months. Let me repeat that: less than 3 months. I’m not trying to give you a heart attack. I actually want to help you prevent a heart attack by providing a tip to promote a more relaxed holiday shopping season this year.

Who likes to shop on December 24?
I’ve been there, perhaps you’ve been there. Waiting until the very last minute might land you some amazing deals, but at the same time this common practice can also create immense amounts of stress and diminish your enjoyment of this fun holiday. A few years ago I decided to change my approach to Christmas shopping. You’re not quite ready to start thinking about Christmas, you say? Let’s just enjoy Autumn for a while? That does sound nice. But I ask you to consider these simple steps I’ve outlined below, because they might just help your Christmas be a little merrier this year.

  • Make a list. Around this time of the year (mid-autumn), I grab a piece of paper and make a list. It doesn’t have to be anything complex, and it doesn’t even have to contain any gift ideas right away. It just needs to include the name of every person you want to buy a gift for this Christmas.
  • Store the list in a visible place. Leave it on your desk, put it on your nightstand, or stick it you your refrigerator. Look at the list as you go about your day. This will serve to remind you of people on your list and keep their names fresh in your mind.
  • Add ideas to the list as they come to you. Whenever ANY sort of idea pops into your head, write it down on your list. Perhaps you saw a product on TV you thought your brother might like. Maybe you had a passing idea about a homemade gift you could create for your mom. Perhaps you saw your friend’s children playing with toys that you know your kids would love. Write everything down.
  • Whenever you shop, bring the list. Whether you shop at stores downtown or on the Internet, always bring the list with you, either in your mind or right in your pocket. You never know when you’ll see one of the ideas you already wrote down and have the opportunity to purchase it early (and maybe even on sale!). Furthermore, you might get additional ideas as you’re walking past endless gift possibilities down each aisle.

So what exactly is the ultimate goal?
If it isn’t clear by now, the goal of this practice is to be able to chip away at your list little by little, simply while you’re going about your normal daily activities. And when it comes time to officially go Christmas shopping, ideally you’ll only have a few things to buy and at least you will have ideas. The worst thing is to walk into a store with absolutely no clue what to buy a person. You’ll end up buying a gift just for the sake of buying a gift, and that is not really the point of gift giving. Allow yourself time to plan ahead and brainstorm creative ideas, and you’ll not only end up with a less stressful shopping experience, but you’ll buy better gifts!

The definition of an over-achiever
If you really want to be prepared for Christmas shopping, consider keeping a list all year round. Anytime an idea comes, put it on the list. And if space allows, buy Christmas gifts in July, even April—you’ll be so happy you did when December rolls around! I like to browse art fairs in summer or souvenir shops on vacation because there are always unique gift opportunities in those types of places. While this approach won’t work for everyone, it just might work for you and it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

Go Digital
Are you trying to eliminate clutter or perhaps you are afraid you’ll lose your list if you just leave it lying around? Make the list on your computer. You’ll be able to edit it more easily, keep it more secret, and it won’t take up any of your precious space.

Reader Reflection
Do you have any creative ways to better prepare for Christmas shopping? Please share!


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