Make a list and check it twice: Christmas is coming!

 Lists, lists, and more lists: the best way to stay on top of everything now that the Christmas season is now upon us!

Christmas shopping is an inevitable part of the holiday, and lists are necessary to keep track of who you need to buy for, who you have bought for, and what you have selected as a gift. Once you have all of this figured out, you can better manage your time and determine where you will need to shop. Find out when stores open and when you can go that works best for your schedule. Remember, the closer to Christmas you go, the busier it will be! Keep track of what stores are offering sales when so you can get a better price on your items.

If you’re shopping online, this should be done as early as possible to ensure you have enough time for shipping and aren’t paying an exorbitant price for shipping it at the last minute. If you do plan on shopping online, it’s also important to consider the extra time and cost that shopping out of the country will entail, and the possibility for delays especially during this busy season. Also, not every company will ship internationally so it’s best to do your research ahead of time so you aren’t left without a gift at the last minute. With the current exchange rate as it is, try to find your gifts from Canadian vendors – it will make your time management and bank account a lot happier!

An even better solution to the stresses of gift giving is not purchasing gifts at all or at least limiting the amount of items you have to buy.

Consider giving gifts that aren’t purchased at a store, and are ultimately worth a lot more: for example, a gift certificate for free babysitting, household chores, cooking lessons, fitness help, or home organization! Family or couple trips are also a good idea, or even practical gifts like AMA or gym memberships. For a full list of ideas, check out a previous post on giving clutter-less gifts.

To limit the amount of gifts you have to buy, try setting up “secret santa” or gift exchanges with coworkers, family, or friends. This will significantly cut down the amount of items you have to buy, and the items you receive. This way, you won’t be bringing in more unnecessary clutter into your home than you have room for!

Gifts are supposed to be items or gestures that the receiver can really appreciate, and giving a gift is supposed to make you feel happy. Don’t over stress yourself and leave this activity to the last minute. Prepare and plan ahead of time as much as you can, or try to eliminate or limit the potential stress that this holiday tradition can have.