Jamie Bentz is a writer for Christmas Music where you can browse the best selection in holiday music.
Even though Christmas is still months away, and thoughts of mistletoe are the furthest thing from your mind as you laze away the long days of summer by the pool, it’s never too soon to start planning for the busy holiday season. Years past have found you scrambling to come up with those last-minute gifts and fighting desperate moms in the frozen foods section for the one and only ham left in the whole city on Christmas Eve. But picture this instead: come December, all of your gifts are bought, wrapped, and stored neatly in the closet. Your turkey has already been hibernating in deep-freeze for a month, and you suddenly find yourself free to do things you haven’t done in years, like write personal cards, bake cookies with the kids, and watch other parents on the news fighting over Elmo dolls or whatever creepy, talking fuzzball happens to be all the rage this year (instead of having front-row seats to the event). It isn’t just a pipe dream. By starting early, you can get people what they really want, save money by waiting for sales, and shop at your leisure without the added hassle of long lines and frantic crowds. Here’s how:
- Make a list, check it twice. By paying attention now, you can figure out what your friends and family really want and need…and won’t they be surprised to get it months later when they’ve forgotten they even mentioned it! Plus, you won’t find yourself hitting crunch time with no ideas, only to overspend on an unwanted gift that they’ll probably return anyway.
- Save where you can. Now that you know what to get you have plenty of time to find coupons, wait for sales, and take advantage of off-season blow-outs. Taking your time with shopping can leave you with an unexpected windfall come December, rather than the usual credit card debt.
- Shop online and order early. You actually have time to order stuff online without having to pay an arm and a leg for overnight shipping (only to have your package arrive three days after Christmas). So look for the many deals available through sites like Amazon, eBay, and other e-tailers to get what you want for less (and from the comfort of your own home).
- Devise a hiding place. One possible negative to shopping early is that you’ll need to keep gifts away from prying eyes, so improvising some long-term storage is a necessity. The garage is a good bet, especially if you have some empty storage bins. Give them innocuous labels that no one would think to check, like “baby clothes” or “tax returns”. If you’re really crafty, you might even scatter a few of the listed items on top, just in case.
- Treat yourself. Now that all the shopping is done and you’ve made it to the holidays with a little extra dough, spread some goodwill to the one you often neglect: yourself! Plan a spa day or weekend getaway to celebrate your forethought and planning. Let everyone else run around like reindeer with their heads cut off while you sit back, relax, and reap the rewards of your good sense.