Happy October! With November coming up, I wanted to share some ideas on getting ready for the Christmas season! November 1st means the Christmas season has officially begun! November, for me, is a hybrid between Christmas and Thanksgiving. I don’t like to exclude Thanksgiving, but my Christmas decorations begin to go up, and my Christmas spirit is in full force. I like to start my Christmas shopping early every year and hate to shop the last weeks before Christmas. Not only do I find myself spending less money when I begin early, but I also find gifts that are truly tailored to the people I am buying for. Even though I start Christmas shopping months and months before Christmas, I do the bulk of my shopping between November 1st and December 1st. I love spending December decorating, wrapping gifts, making ornaments, and enjoying the Christmas spirit around me. When most of my shopping is done before December 1st, I feel like I can fully embrace the holiday spirit throughout the month of December. I want to give you some tips and tricks for getting most of your shopping done in November, which will allow you to really enjoy December!
1. Create a list and budget for each person you will be buying for.
Getting organized is key to the success of getting shopping done early. Many times, gift-giving is not about the amount of money you spend but the intention behind the gift. You can make any budget work for you in a very intentional way. I once had someone give me a customized insulated mug that was not expensive, but it meant the world to me. This is why a budget and a list are key. Once you have decided on a dollar amount you really can afford for each person you are buying for, create a list of each person’s favorite things or things you think would mean a lot to them to receive as a gift. This will help to guide you when you are shopping while hopefully decreasing your stress on getting the perfect gift. A little time and effort in planning can help you save money and give more intentionally.
2. Plan to buy local/ from small businesses.
With the supply chains the way they are right now, it is even more crucial to shop small. I have a handful of small businesses I follow online and love to support. I look at their websites to see if they have anything that could fit in the budget and interests of the people I am buying gifts for. I also have a bunch of local businesses I love supporting so I plan to check them out online or in-person during the month of November to see if they have anything that fits within the budget and interests of the people I am buying for. Hopefully, planning to buy things online in November will allow for delayed shipping and supply chain issues to not greatly influence the gifts you are buying.
3. Look for gifts in unconventional places.
You do not need to buy gifts at traditional stores physically or online. I have found Christmas gifts at the grocery store plenty of times! Placed like Wegmans, ShopRite, Whole Foods, etc have plants and other items that could be given as gifts. If you have a car lover in your life, get them a gift card to a local auto shop. If you have a friend who is a coffee lover, grab them a mug from their favorite local coffee shop instead of at a chain shopping store.
4. Create a Black Friday plan.
I love shopping on Black Friday but only online. The idea of being in a crowded store has never interested me but the deals some stores have for black Friday definitely grab my attention. I use Krazy Coupon Lady (insert link) to plan my black Friday shopping. Many bigger stores like Target or Amazon start their deals way before black Friday. It’s important to plan early to make sure you are buying gifts at the peak of their deal times. I use places like Target and Amazon for black Friday shopping online to get items like electronics, grab bag gifts, blankets, mugs, etc. Anything that I cannot find at a local store, I look for deals and buy them when they go on sale. I have gotten some heavily discounted Ipads over the years this way.
5. Look into local holiday markets/ craft shows.
This is something I look into in November and plan to do in December. I use local holiday markets and craft shows as my last items shopping time. These markets and craft shows are great ways to support your local community while getting unique, international items for people. Since many happen at the beginning of December, this is a nice way to get out and do something Christmasy!
6. Grab some $5 – 10 items throughout the month.
While I am in Target, grocery stores, and other local stores, I buy $5 items like the $5 Christmas mugs at target. I also find Black Friday deals for $5 – $10 blankets, fuzzy socks, etc. I collect a handful of these items to use as extra gifts, grab bags, holiday party gifts, etc. I also keep whatever is left over for the next year. $5 Christmas mugs don’t go out of style and can be used any year for any event, like the work grab bag that you forgot about!
Some additional tips for next year….
Plan your budget early and set up automatic savings.
I have a neat high-yield saving account with Ally that allows you to set up automatic savings and create buckets for savings goals. I have a Christmas bucket that twice a month I have some money go into. I planned my budget early in the year and allowed the bucket to accumulate. Now, I have a nice chunk of my Christmas budget already set aside, so the financial burden of Christmas doesn’t hit all at once. These automatic savings could be $5-10 a month if need be! I recommend taking your budget amount and dividing it by the number of months you have until November 1st. If you buy gifts throughout the year, take the money out of this bucket and use it to pay your credit card or add it back to your checking account! Having money set aside helps to decrease the financial stress people often feel around the holidays.
Slowly buy gifts throughout the year and have a place in your house to store the presents.
This would be my biggest piece of advice! When you see something you know a person in your life would love but the next closest holiday is Christmas, just grab it for them then and there! You won’t forget about the idea, and you won’t be dropping tons of money at one time. I have an area in my house where I store all the Christmas presents I collect throughout the year, so I don’t forget where I put them. It feels so good in early November when you do an inventory of the presents you have collected, and you don’t have to begin your Christmas shopping from page one.
Happy Holidays and Enjoy Your Christmas Shopping!