Holiday and Christmas shopping can be quite a challenge for busy parents. The more responsibilities you juggle, the more efficient you need to be with your time. It’s not a matter of wanting to be more productive. You simply don’t have the luxury of time if you want to make sure you get the presents you need and wrap them up before the holidays creep up on you. If you leave everything to the last minute, you’ll be stressed and sometimes you won’t be able to find that special gift you or your child really wanted to get.
Since the day has 24 hours and there is only so much I can do, I’ve found ways to improve my holiday shopping. Here are my top 11 tips to finish all your holiday shopping by December 1. No, I am not kidding.
Tips to finish your holiday shopping as soon as possible:
Make A List
Make one as soon as possible of all the gift recipients for this holiday season. Insert a few extra slots for last minute gifts (they always come up!); you can label them “just in case” or something generic.
Write Down Gift Ideas
Next to each name, specify gifts or ideas you have. If there are any gifts you can make at home, make sure to include!
Set A Budget
Do this for each gift. This is extremely important because we all wish we could play Santa and grant wishes left and right, but the truth is it’s better to be organized and responsible to avoid a financial nightmare after New Year’s. Add everything up and see if you can allocate that much money; if not, reduce the budget for certain gifts or remove names from the list.
Print The List
Or, save it on your smartphone (if you have one) so you can have it handy.
Compare Gift Prices
Online shopping sites are great for this, as well as apps that allow you to comparison shop by scanning barcodes with your smartphone.
Look For Deals
Search for coupons, special promotions and online codes on Google, Twitter, Facebook, in your Sunday newspaper or at the retailer’s website. Take advantage of free shipping offers and see if the store offers free gift wrapping.
Begin shopping by mid-November and set an internal goal to complete your list by November 30th.
Don’t Always Wait
Evaluate whether it makes sense to wait for the offers during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Sometimes there are so many great promotions going on before Thanksgiving that you can shop well before Black Friday. Check out sites such as blackfriday.com to see what special offers will be available that holiday weekend. At department stores, always ask if they can do a pre-sale on a specific item so you get a better price on the items you select.
Shop By Yourself
It can be from your computer if you enjoy online shopping, or organize your schedule so you can go shopping while your children are at school. If you need to shop after work, ask somebody to watch the kids while you venture out for a few hours. Keep in mind that afternoons tend to be the busiest times at the stores.
Store Your Gifts
You don’t want your little ones to find them. If you shopped online, you can always keep the presents in the boxes they were shipped, but they might take up a lot of space.
Buy A Few Gift Cards
These make perfect last-minute gifts. Make sure they don’t expire, so if you do not use them for the holidays, you can give them as birthday gifts during the year.