Christmas is a magical time of year. There are so many wonderful events, activities and ways to get back to what's really important. For many, that means showing the people in your life how much they mean to you. While you can demonstrate your appreciation in a multitude of ways, one of the traditional methods of Christmas is to give gifts.
However, some experience this seasonal gift-giving as a pressure-filled drag on the monthly budget. That's not how it should be! Getting ready in advance can remove a lot of the holiday stress and find you some great deals! Here are some ways to save while spending this Christmas.
Part of what makes Christmas so stressful is that everything feels like it has to happen at once. You're supposed to be traveling or hosting someone else who is traveling. There's school to finish up, backpacks that need to be emptied, work deadlines to meet before the holidays, parties to attend, the house to decorate, and finally, all the gifts to buy. That can translate to a pretty rough time--especially if gift-giving is not your strength.
No matter what time of season, everyone can benefit from slowing down and making a plan. When you have a plan in place, you won't have to worry about getting too much. You can also be sure that you're giving gifts to the people you really care about so you know you're spending your gifting efforts on people you truly want to invest in.
Make a list of the people you want to remember this season. Then, consider what you're going to get each of them. If you know exactly what each person on your list wants, great! If you don't, write down their known interests and try to note some stores where you're likely to find things your loved ones will like. This keeps you from wasting time later drifting from place to place at the mall or following rabbit trails online. It also keeps you from wasting money on impulse buys and mediocre gifts. Though when in doubt, Christmas candles are festive yet inexpensive options.
While you're figuring out where you might find good gifts, check into the deals going on this time of year. Black Friday discounts are famous for a reason. Cyber Monday deals are nothing to sneeze at either. Each of the companies will be advertising these upcoming deals in advance, some even use coupons and coupon codes you'll want to remember for later. Use this deal search to give yourself some gift inspiration. That way, you not only get some ideas, but they're also ideas that are on sale. Win-win!
As you're going through your search, don't just note down the gifts so that you remember them later, note down the costs as well. This helps you get an idea of what you'll spend. If you're concerned about breaking your budget, give yourself multiple options in different price brackets. That way, after you have your gift list completed, you can mix and match so your finances don't feel the strain.
After that, consider your calendar. Are you going in any of those directions before Christmas? If not, you may need to set aside one day for running to the different shopping areas. This can save you on gas money and time so you aren't running back to the same place for multiple trips. Shop smarter, not harder!
If you and everyone in your family are all trying to give gifts to each other and everyone else, and you have a huge group this Christmas, consider simplifying everything with a game of Secret Santa. Instead of getting each person a gift, Secret Santa puts everyone's name in a hat and lets you draw one person to focus on. Be the Secret Santa to that friend or family member you drew and reduce your gift-giving efforts and holiday financial stress. Some Secret Santas put their gifts under the Christmas tree for Christmas morning surprises. Others spend the week sneaking around and leaving little things like Christmas toys or Christmas candies in unexpected places so the whole week becomes a delightful game of cat and mouse. However you want your Secret Santa game to go, let it relieve you of your holiday stress.
Christmas is the season of giving and generosity is a valuable virtue that's important to prioritize in our own lives and pass on to our children. Prepare in advance and don't let the pressures of the season take away the joy of giving.