Holiday Shopping Tips to Keep You from Turning into a Grinch

This week we are looking into some holiday shopping tips that will help you keep your cool while you are decking the halls or spinning your dreidel, or however you practice your seasonal holiday of choice.

Some of us find holiday shopping vexing enough during a normal year, but 2016 was a tough one. We lost beloved figures likes David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and Alan Rickman. There were an unprecedented numbers of shootings – of unarmed civilians and of police trying to do their duty. The United Kingdom left the European Union. Zika. The list goes on and on. Enough already! And now we have to smile and go shopping?! Somebody say Uncle!

But the calendar does not lie; the holidays loom.

The holidays are all about nostalgia. We want to recall simpler, happier times – both those we had and those we wish we had. There are few things better than music and food to set the mood. Put on your favorite seasonal music, sip some hot cocoa (or spiked Blossom Water), and gird your loins. The holidays are almost here!

We culled our favorite holiday shopping tips to reduce holiday shopping stress and help you make the most of it. Tis the season…

  1. Have a plan. Make a list. Check it twice (yeah, yeah, we know, sorry).
  2. Make a realistic budget and stick with it. According to The Motely Fool, “the average consumer who celebrates one of the major holidays plans to spend $935.58 on the holidays this year, including gifts for others, as well as spending on items for themselves, food, flowers, decorations, and greeting cards.” (goo.gl/QxLAEB) Make sure to include holiday travel into your budget.
  3. Shop Online. Use cool resources like Esty.com. This is an online marketplace of individual sellers/creators who make fun things by hand. You’re bound to find something unique here.
  4. Make something yourself. Plant paper-white bulbs in decorative gravel in cool glass containers (if you do it this week, you will have some lovely green shoots by Christmas and Hanukkah, and some flowers by the New Year), make a huge batch of granola or roasted nuts, jar it in decorative glass jars, tie it up with a festive ribbon, Martha Stewart/Snoop Dog style.
  5. Gift cards.
  6. Give yourself a time limit.
  7. Food. There are some amazing gourmet treats available online. Take advantage of what some great chefs have to offer.
  8. Give to your favorite charity in someone’s name. Check out Give Well for information and research on the most effective charities. (www.givewell.org) This kind of charitable giving has a double whammy effect: you’ll feel good about it and your gift recipient will feel good that such good was done in their honor.
  9. Shop on Christmas Eve. We know it sounds crazy, but most of the people who celebrate Christmas will have already done all of their shopping by the 24th. The malls and downtown shops will be fairly quiet by then. Hanukkah this year is December 24- January 1. If you celebrate, you too can take advantage of the quiet on Christmas Eve – if you time it right and don’t mind too much Bing Crosby.
  10. Relax. For those who truly love you, your presence is present enough. Right?