I love holiday shopping.
It’s always been something I find fun. From planning and saving to choosing the gifts and wrapping them, I love the entire process.
But while the enjoyment has been a constant for me over the years, my shopping approach has evolved.
Here are some examples of how my approach to holiday shopping looks different today than it did when I was younger.
Five ways my approach to holiday shopping has changed
When I think about holiday shopping and how my approach has evolved over the years, there are five things that come to mind.
I get my holiday shopping done early
There’s nothing I love more than not going to the mall two days before Christmas.
Most years, I start thinking about the holiday season in July. By the end of the summer, I have a good idea of who I’m shopping for and what I’m buying.
And by the end of November, I am almost finished my holiday shopping.
As much as I love the lead up to the holiday season, the idea of shopping in December does not appeal to me one single bit. Instead, I prefer to be in a position where, by December 1, I’m either finished my shopping or substantially complete.
TIP: Don’t forget to look at the big picture when it comes to your budget! Check out this post for some examples of holiday budget items that can be easy to overlook.
I think about the recipient
Confession: I used to hate the idea of giving a gift card for Christmas.
To my way of thinking, a gift card was the kind of gift you gave because you couldn’t find something better. As a result, for years, I saw giving a gift card as impersonal at best — and, at worst, lazy.
It took me a long time to understand the problem with this mindset: it makes the gift more about the giver’s ego than what the receiver wants.
A Starbucks gift card isn’t a flashy choice but if you have a friend who loves coffee (like, you know, me), it can be a great gift. The same can be said for the countless other gift cards that are available today.
Choosing a gift card for a shop or service is a great way to show your loved one that you know what they like.
TIP: Looking for a cool way to package your gift card? If a card doesn’t do it for you, try using a toilet paper or paper towel roll! This tutorial gives you the gist of how to go about it. My mother-in-law has done this before and it’s a great way to to give you loved one something to unwrap.
Also, make sure to include the activation slip! This can come in handy if something goes wrong at the purchase site.
I have a lot of opinions about “Santa” gifts for children
This is something that took me by surprise, because I have never been a person who thought all that much about the Santa question. In many ways, I still don’t — except when it comes to gifts.
I firmly believe gifts labeled as being from “Santa” should be gifts with a lower dollar value.
Why does this matter? Because it helps to lower the playing field, in a sense.
What kind of message does it send when one child gets a gaming system from “Santa”…and another gets a pair of socks? How do you explain that?
The whole situation makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to be part of it. We don’t have kids yet, so I’m not sure what route we will take when it comes to the Santa question in general. If we do decide to go with it, though, our holiday shopping list will include modest items from Santa.
QUESTION: Do you have kids? How do you handle gifts from Santa? I’d love to hear what others think about this!
I prefer giving to receiving
This feels like such a stereotypical thing to say, but it’s true: the older I get, the more I find that I enjoy giving gifts as opposed to receiving them.
I think this has to do with the fact that being the centre of attention makes me uncomfortable. This makes unwrapping gifts in a group awkward — especially if you’re the only one doing it and everyone else is watching for your reaction.
Which is a little ironic, considering one of my favourite parts of giving gifts is the reaction.
This is something I am working on. It’s great to enjoy giving, but being a gracious receiver is important, too. When we do this, we make it possible for our friends and family to enjoy the feeling that comes with giving a great gift. I love that feeling, so I don’t want to take that away from someone else.
QUESTION: Do you struggle with this? What steps are you taking to being a better receive?
I plan ahead. Like, way ahead
Decorations, wrapping paper, cards…mark downs on all these things start on December 26. This is something I’ve known for years, but December 2018 was the first time I actually acted on this knowledge.
And boy, am I kicking myself for that because I saved SO much money.
Buying these items right after Christmas really is the way to go. Not only will they be far cheaper than they are in season, but it’s one less thing to worry about when you start holiday shopping next year.
TIP: If you’re like me and love the idea of having a theme, it’s a good idea to have a couple different ones in mind. Shopping the sales means dealing with sale availability. I found it helpful to develop a couple concepts based on what’s available ahead of time. That way, when I went shopping after Christmas, I knew exactly what I wanted.
My approach to holiday shopping is different today than it was when I was younger — and I expect it will continue to evolve in the future. What’s important, to me, is that the enjoyment factor remains. After all, the holiday season is supposed to be fun, right?
How has your approach to holiday shopping changed over the years?