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And Just Like That We're Holiday Shopping

christmas shoppingNovember is right around the corner, and that can only mean one thing: Christmas shopping is in full swing. No offense, Thanksgiving.

Personally, I don’t really mind Christmas showing up in October. I’m a fall and winter person, and as such I find little hints of coming joy in the ornaments and lights being displayed one aisle over from scary plastic masks and overpriced fog machines.

Yes, Halloween will soon be another memory of costumed fun and the occasional cavity, but shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever you are into, will be here for the next two months, and the receipts add up quickly. The trick is in the budget.

I decided long ago that it isn’t how much I spend on someone’s gift that matters, but the act of giving. Also, an inexpensive item that is perfect for someone is (almost) always more appreciated than an expensive gift that they don’t like. Possible exceptions include cash.

What I have done over the years is make a list of everyone that I want to buy a gift for, which leans heavy toward family and then winds its way down between friends and coworkers accordingly. Then I figure out what I can afford to spend on each, and I stick to it.

This is why the full two months is needed. Finding the perfect gift for someone at a price I can afford is not as easy as it sounds—not if you put way too much thought into it, which I do.

There are sales in stores and websites, catalogs to search, and the subtle art of finding out what a person really wants without their knowing that you want to get it for them. It’s a gift (see what I did there?).

It may be hard to stick to a budget, but doing so will make the holidays much less stressful than spending willy-nilly, which is a real thing. In addition, the time and effort put into finding the perfect gift at the perfect price all but guarantees that the recipient will enjoy it immensely, and that feels good for everyone.

Let me be the first to say, Happy Holidays! Shoppers, start your budgets.

A big thanks to Citi for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Photo Credit: Morgue File

Whit HoneaRead more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).

 

 

Also from Whit:

Notes Between Brothers

One Fish, Two Fish, etc.

Of Purple, Bumps, and Bullies

The Stars Upon Thars

Tales of a Playground Loner

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