While it might seem silly to start planning how to handle Christmas shopping months in advance, it’s often a far better idea than waiting until the last moment. With the economy somewhat shaky, jobs unavailable, and unemployment soaring, the holidays are an easy time to find yourself broke and feeling a bit sad. Having a little something tucked away–or considering the other options for gift-giving during the holiday season–is a far better idea than waiting for the season to suddenly arrive.
The first and most important step towards preparing for the holidays is realizing that most friends and loved ones would be absolutely devastated to hear that someone went beyond their means just to provide a new bauble. While the sentiment of gift-giving is rich with meaning, the sacrifice of money needed for other things simply to present an object is not. Do not overspend if it is not possible, whether it involves actually using physical money or running up any kind of debt. It’s important to not make this kind of mistake, and while it might seem tempting to do nice things for people that involve spending cash, there are other ways to show love and affection.
For those who are considering putting aside money for gifts, it might make sense to figure out how much money that actually could end up being. Deciding on an amount of money to spend per person or per gift is a great way to establish a budget. If the economy suddenly takes a turn or it seems as though the original amounts are unrealistic, there’s also no reason to not reassess closer to the holiday season, too.
After deciding how much to spend per gift and making a list of people to whom you want to give presents, it might be a great time to think about ways to obtain gifts for less. A lot of the time, shopping online is a great way to get around the costs that tend to be higher in stores. Whether it’s shopping for used books through a mega-website/small retailer like Powell’s or checking Amazon for electronics, the World Wide Web is a great resource for more reasonable prices. And sites like Etsy make buying directly from designers considerably better, too, which can sometimes also result in lower prices for more unique items.
While putting aside money for gifts is one great way to prepare for the holidays, another is to consider the kind of gifts that are heartfelt but cost a fraction of shiny new electronics and other gadgets. While parents will likely want to save some money to buy children more exciting or engaging presents than homemade items, those who aren’t shopping for young children will be able to use their own skills and resources to make gift-giving more affordable. Master knitters can make items, and starting early is a great way to ensure that there are enough hats and scarves to go around.
Likewise, anyone who has a talent–be it candle-making, crafting jewelry, or cooking–can figure out other fun and actually-pleasant gifts to give to others. A great way to figure out if a skill is actually up to the task of turning it into gifts is to consider how many compliments you’ve received for it. If people keep raving about your recipe for chocolate chip cookies, figuring out a nice method of packaging and making batches up for people this holiday season might be the best way to save money and still make people happy!
Written by: Victoria Crowdell
About the Author: Victoria Crowdell loves creating articles to help people with day-to-day life. She writes on a variety of subjects including DIY, fitness and finance, and wishes she was a bit better at practicing what she preaches on all three counts. In her spare time, she is a keen knitter, seamstress and gardener – sequined flowerpot cozies for everyone this Christmas!