It may only be October but before we know it, the holiday season will be here! In order to avoid the long line ups and last minute shopping in cold weather, try out these five suggestions on how to beat the holiday rush this season!
The easiest way to avoid the holiday rush is order your gifts from the comfort of your home - no need to worry about making it out to the mall after work or over the weekend. Instead, take time whenever you’re free to browse different retailers on line, and take advantage of sales or free shipping offers. If you aren’t always home during the day, you can have the items shipped to work. Some retailers will even let you ship items to the store, so you can pick it up during non-rush periods or whenever you have time.
Don’t wait around
Just because you’re shopping for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to wait for the holiday season to start shopping. You can start scoping out products or thinking of ideas year-round, as early as January! Whenever you get an idea or think of something that might work, write it down or purchase it in advance - don’t wait until the last minute. When you shop during non-peak or seasonal periods, you can often get good deals on popular items and cut back on your spending for holiday gifts. Just keep in mind that if you do start shopping earlier, you’ll need to have a place to store your items that is out of reach from prying eyes!
Make your gift
If you have a talent or hobby, put it to good use over the holidays and make your gifts from scratch! Not all gifts have to be extravagant and purchased from a store - homemade gifts are just as good, and even more special, because of the time you spent making it for your friends and family. Consider baking holiday treats and chocolates, and putting together gift baskets and boxes for friends and co-workers. If you like doing crafts, make a wreath or holiday centre piece that family can use to decorate their homes. If you have people on your list that are always busy or are going through a difficult time, consider pre-making frozen meals or putting together a meal basket with all the items needed to throw together a quick meal. Homemade gifts can be beautiful and practical!
Give an experience
What’s the best way to avoid the holiday rush? Don’t give a gift at all! Instead, give your friends and family the gift of an experience. Set-up a time to go on a movie night, participate in a cooking class, or go see a concert coming to town. This way, you don’t have to worry about making it to the store on time and wrapping a gift to give. Even better, experiences can be fun and memorable, without adding more clutter or objects to our homes and our lives. Going to a paint night or treating people to a nice meal out is something you can both enjoy together. It doesn’t have to be during the busy holiday season either. Make plans to go during a time that works best for everyone involved so you truly enjoy the experience without having to squeeze it in between other holiday events. A gift doesn’t always have to be a physical object.
Change your gift giving strategy
Shopping during the holidays can be stressful especially for people that have a long list of gifts to buy. Starting early and following the previous suggestions may help relieve the stress, might still doesn’t help the financial strain. Why not try changing the way you give gifts? Consider hosting a “Secret Santa” gift swap, or holding a gift exchange so each person involved is only responsible for buying one gift. Not only will it alleviate the time and money spent on gifts, it can make for a fun activity during the holidays! Also consider going together to buy one large group gift for someone. For example, if you’re buying a gift for your parents, decide on a larger item as a gift and go in together with your siblings. This way, everyone only needs to worry about one gift and you can share the responsibility of buying it, picking it up and wrapping it.
The holidays are supposed to be a peaceful and relaxing time, but end up being stressful because of the amount of events and tasks we “need” to do, like shopping for gifts. This year, skip the rush of holiday shopping and make sure you can actually enjoy the holiday season.