How to make Christmas Shopping Less of a Headache

Gift giving doesn’t have to be difficult.  A small, meaningful gift without a large price tag can be enough.

Christmas shopping has traditionally been a disaster as people head to the malls, browse for hours, and aimlessly stock up on items they don’t need.  Materialism is at an all-time high around Christmas.  Many resort to online shopping, but recently, with inflation at an all-time high, on-line shopping isn’t friendly for the wallet any more.  What are some other ways you can spread the spirit of Christmas without having to break the bank while also making it meaningful for your friends and family?

You don’t need to give a gift for everyone

I find that partly my stress as a people pleaser is to find the “perfect” gift that is both meaningful and valuable for people.  I don’t want to throw unnecessary or thoughtless gifts at colleagues and friends.  This sometimes places undue stress on myself and I become obsessive about one or two single items I need to purchase for someone.  But sometimes it is okay to not buy gifts for everyone.  Invite your friends to a secret Santa gift exchange such that everyone only needs to buy a gift for one person.  Better yet, bake some cookies or make a heartfelt card for them.  Remember, materialism isn’t the key to making yourself and others happy.

Make a list of things to purchase

Aimlessly walking down aisles of the department store is never a good idea.  It’s a waste of your time and you might even walk out with nothing.  Instead, make a list of gifts to purchase for different people and a general budget.  This will help you stay focused and waste as little time browsing as possible.

If you can’t think of an item to give, give an experience

I love this tip the most for myself when I run out of ideas for gifts.  For my significant other or family members, sometimes I would purchase a pair of movie tickets or a swim membership for my family.  These experience gifts are valuable and memorable to the individual.

Plan ahead for next year

Did you know that if you’re purchasing Christmas decor, Boxing day is a better bet than Black Friday? Boxing day is intended to rid items and clear the shelves for the new year.  Moreover, some locations are also trying to hit their sales targets for the year.  This is a good time to stock up on Christmas cards, and themed items for the following year without breaking the bank.  Before the holidays, many themed items are marked up but after the holidays they become extra space that retailers have to store.

One of my favorite memories is making Hello Fresh mealkits with my significant other.  This was an excellent and thoughtful experience that was different from traditional giftgiving.

Avoid the buy now and pay later

If you’re not in a good financial position to give, it might be smart to re-evaluate holiday shopping.  Our materialism might mean stacking up debt to attend a social function and purchase an expensive gift.  However, this also means starting off the New Year on the wrong foot and potentially putting ourselves in a difficult financial position.  With rising interest rates and inflation, it might be a good idea to be realistic this holiday season.