Christmas shopping can be fun and exciting or it can be tedious, overwhelming and exhausting. The key to making your Christmas shopping a pleasant experience is to be prepared before you set foot inside a mall.
- Lists, lists, lists. Making lists is a vital part of Christmas shopping in a meaningful way. You should start long before you're ready to shop. First, you should put together a list of all the people for whom you want to buy gifts. Include the obvious ones, like spouses, children and parents, as well as the not-so-obvious - your children's teachers, coaches, your boss or co-workers, the host/hostess of any parties you will be attending, etc.
- Who wants what? Next, start listening when your giftees are talking. Try to determine what they want, but won't buy for themselves, what they're interested in, what their hobbies are and what other people have that they like. Take notes (preferably not in front of them!) so that you can reference your list when you are deciding what to buy.
- Narrow it down. You should have a good idea of what each person on your list would like for Christmas by now. Try to narrow it down to just a few choices for each person, then start comparison-shopping. The Internet can be a great resource for this. Even if you choose to buy gifts in a brick-and-mortar store, shopping online can give you a good idea for how much you should be willing to spend.
- Start shopping. After you've decided on a gift that's in your price range, decide where you'd like to start shopping. Try not to narrow down your choice too much. For example, it's fine to decide that you're going to buy your best friend a new sweater, but don't decide that it has to be a dark-blue Fair Isle sweater for less than fifty dollars! This will just make your shopping experience a frustrating one. Try to keep an open mind, but without falling prey to every sale and marketing scheme that you see. If a store offers free gift wrapping, consider taking advantage of it. It can save you a lot of time during the Christmas crunch!
- Try to keep it secret! As everyone knows, the hardest part of Christmas shopping comes after the shopping is through. Trying to keep the gifts a secret from their intended owner can be tough! If you have trouble keeping secrets like this, you may want to delay your Christmas shopping until a few weeks before the big day.
Christmas shopping should be a joyous experience. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break, regroup and continue in a few days or buy a gift just for you. After all, you deserve a reward for all of your hard work!