Setting a Budget for Christmas Shopping It is never too early to start thinking about setting a budget for Christmas shopping. As much as we would like to be able to purchase anything we want for our friends and relatives, it is an unfortunate reality, that many of us have to budget carefully to be able to purchase Christmas gifts for all of our friends and relatives during the holiday season. With this in mind it is very important to set a budget for Christmas shopping and to try to really stick to that budget. Some people take an interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping by waiting until they are ready to start shopping to set the actual budget. These individuals usually do this because they are saving specifically for the purpose of Christmas shopping. Whether they open up a bank account specifically for Christmas shopping, set aside money for this purpose in an envelop each week or plan on using a percentage of their income from the month of November for Christmas shopping it is important to set a budget and determine a plan for purchasing all of your Christmas gifts without exceeding this budget. Other people take a different approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping by shopping throughout the year and incorporating their spending for Christmas presents into their monthly budgets. These individuals may allot a portion of their monthly income to gift giving and either purchase the gifts on a monthly basis or simply set aside the money for a Christmas shopping spree at a later date. Those who spread out the Christmas shopping by doing a little bit of shopping each month not only keep their budget in control but also eliminate a great deal of the stress which often accompanies last minute Christmas shopping. Still others take a more interesting approach to setting a budget for Christmas shopping. Those who typically receive a financial bonus at work around Christmas time may base their budget on the amount of money they are awarded in this bonus. This strategy may work out well for some as it does not allow them to alter their normal monthly spending strategy because these bonuses are typically not considered in the regular monthly budgeting. However, unless these bonuses are guaranteed annually, there is some risk involved in this strategy. Often annual bonuses are awarded based on criteria such as the company's earnings and the individual employee's contributions to the success of the company. The company may not enjoy financial success or the contributions of the employee may not be highly valued and therefore there may be either no bonus or a bonus much lower than expected. When this happens, those who count on bonuses for Christmas shopping may find themselves in a difficult situation. Budgeting for Christmas shopping is particularly important for those who plan to use credit cards to make their purchases. In the case of credit card purchases it might be worthwhile to spread the Christmas shopping out over the entire year and repay the debts associated with the shopping monthly. This will help to prevent carrying a balance and being charged interest on the balance each month. However, if it is necessary to do all of the Christmas shopping at one time, it is wise to save up during the year for these purchases. Before you begin shopping, evaluate the amount of money you have saved and set a budget for your Christmas shopping. This way even though you are using a credit card and will receive a large bill the following month, you should have enough money to repay the bill in its entirety and avoid paying interest on the debt. Even those with the best of intentions may find themselves going over their budget when Christmas shopping. When this happens it is important to keep things in perspective and avoid going too far over budget. You may spend too much on one or two people on your Christmas list but you can recover from this by purchasing less expensive gifts than planned for a few other people to compensate. Making a List for Christmas Shopping "He's making a list, he's checking it twice." This may be a line from one of the most recognized Christmas carol. Almost everyone who celebrates Christmas knows all about Santa's good list as well as his naughty list and most people do their best to avoid being placed on Santa's naughty list. While the concept of Santa's good list and naughty list is a fun way to convince children to be on their best behavior during the Christmas season, the concept of a list should one that all Christmas shoppers adhere to while they are doing their Christmas shopping. In fact Christmas shopping should be filled with all sorts of lists. You can create lists of everyone you plan to give gifts to this year, lists of potential gift ideas and even lists of the actual gifts you select. All of this list making may sound tedious but this article will explain how all of these lists can be very helpful. Making a list of everyone you plan to give a Christmas gift to should be the first step in any Christmas shopping expedition. This list is so important because it gives you a handy reference to all the people you should keep in mind while you are shopping and also gives you an indication of the total number of people on your Christmas list. Knowing how many people are on your list is important for setting a budget. Consider how much money you have to spend and divide this amount by the number of people on your list and this will give you an idea of how much you can spend on each person on your Christmas list. After you make this list and set your budget, it is a good idea to make another list of potential gift ideas for each person on your Christmas gift list. It is a good idea to brainstorm and try to come up with a few good gift ideas for each person on your list. This is helpful because when you are out Christmas shopping you know where to start your search and will have a few choices if you are having difficulty finding one of the items on your list of suggestions. You may find items which are not on your list but are perfect for the person you are shopping for and it is acceptable to buy these items. It is important to remember your list of suggestions is just a starting point and if you find a more appropriate gift that is not on your list it is a good idea to purchase this gift instead. When Christmas shopping you should also keep a list of the items you actually purchase as Christmas gifts for those on your list. This is a good idea because if you have a particularly long list, you may have difficulty remembering all the items you already bought. Keeping an updated list of whom you have already purchased Christmas gifts for and what you bought them will minimize this problem. This list also comes in handy when it is time to start wrapping all the Christmas gifts you purchased. You may have a closet full of gifts but you may have trouble remembers which gift goes to which recipient. However, if you kept an accurate list as you made your purchases this should not be a problem. Last Minute Christmas Shopping If you are like most people you do the majority of your Christmas shopping at the last minute. Visit any mall or shopping center in the final days before Christmas and you are likely to find parking lots that are filled to capacity and stores that are literally filled with shoppers who are still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their friends or family members. As it gets closer and closer to Christmas the crowds tend to get more and more restless and the search for the perfect gift becomes a search for an acceptable gift. Although Christmas falls at the end of the year and people have a whole year to prepare for this joyous occasion, most people leave their shopping until the last minute every year despite New Year's resolutions to get the Christmas shopping done early. This article will discuss a few different types of last minute Christmas shoppers. There are those who do their Christmas shopping at the last minute out of necessity, those who do it because they have procrastinated and those who do it because they find it to be exciting. People become last minute Christmas shoppers for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most innocent last minute shoppers are those who shop at the last minute out of necessity. Consider college students who typically end the semester around mid to late December. Many of these students are living on campus without access to a car. This can make Christmas shopping quite difficult but when you combine this living situation with the fact that they have finals to take at the end of semester, Christmas shopping becomes downright impossible. Finals often account for as much as 50% of a college student's grade and it is understandable that they would have to spend the early part of December studying, the middle of the month taking their finals and then wind up last minute Christmas shopping almost immediately after their last final. Other last minute Christmas shoppers include those who are just born procrastinators. They may go to stores every weekend in October or November. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to get their Christmas shopping done early but instead they wind up window shopping or purchasing items for themselves. While they are aware the Christmas season is approaching, they don't feel compelled to start shopping until the absolute last minute. When this happens they find themselves in the unfortunate position of fighting the crowds in a last minute Christmas shopping frenzy. Finally, there are others who are last minute Christmas shoppers simply because this is when they prefer to do their Christmas shopping. Some of these shoppers see shopping at the last minute as a challenge. They know they are short on time but are confident they will be able to find great gifts for everyone on their Christmas list this year. Other shoppers who intentionally wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping may do so because they enjoy the excitement of the crowds. Although last minute Christmas shopping can be stressful it is often exciting. Those who enjoy this excitement love shopping at the last minute because it gives them a sense of energy they wouldn't feel if they were shopping for Christmas presents in October. Impulsive Christmas Shopping Impulsive Christmas shopping is a problem which plagues many during the holiday season and it can have a variety of complications. Some of the problems which often stem from impulsive Christmas shopping are going over budget, buying frivolous items and even forgetting about items that were already purchased. All of these problems can pose their own set of dilemmas and this article will discuss the ramifications of impulsive Christmas shopping. However, it is important to remember that although there are many problems associated with impulsive Christmas shopping there is also some merit to this shopping tactic. Going over budget is one of the major concerns of impulsive Christmas shopping. A common scenario is to pick up a few small items each time you go out Christmas shopping. These gifts may seem small and seemingly harmless to your budget but they can add up over time. For example you may only be purchasing items which cost less than $10 but if you buy enough of these items, you could find yourself hundreds of dollars over budget without even realizing it. One way to combat this problem is to write down each item and the price of every gift you buy. This will help you to be aware of how these small gifts can add up and may prevent you from shopping on impulse in the future. Purchasing frivolous gifts is another problem associated with impulsive Christmas shopping. You may see a few small items which you think will make cute gifts at the time but after you purchase these items you might realize they are actually quite silly. When this occurs you have two choices you can either return the item or replace it for a more meaningful gift or you could keep the item and give it to your friend or relative anyway. If you opt to return the item you may find yourself pressed for time to find a replacement gift depending on when you started shopping. If it is close to Christmas already, you may have difficulty finding some thing at the last minute and may have no choice but to give your friend or relative the gift you purchased on an impulse. Another problem often associated with impulsive Christmas shopping is forgetting about items you have already purchased. If you purchase a number of small items on impulse you may put these gifts in a safe location and then completely forget about them. When this happens you may end up buying additional gifts for those on your guest list who were supposed to receive the impulse gifts you already purchased. This can cause you to go over budget and also create unnecessary stress. While there are many problems which are often associated with impulsive Christmas shopping, it is important to remember that sometimes impulsive Christmas shopping is a good idea. When you see an item that you just know will make the perfect Christmas gift for a friend or relative and purchase the item without giving it any thought that is the exact definition of impulsive shopping. However, it is also not necessarily a bad thing. Buying a gift on impulse is not a problem when the gift you purchase is a great gift for the intended recipient but impulse Christmas shopping becomes problematic when it causes the shopper to go over budget or purchase silly items they wouldn't normally buy. Shopping for Yourself While Christmas Shopping Everyone knows that Christmas is all about giving but most of us are also tempted to shop for ourselves when we are out Christmas shopping for our beloved friends and family members. While some people may be tempted to pass up on purchases for themselves during the holiday season because they feel guilty making these purchases, there are others who feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking advantage of the huge sales which take place during the Christmas season to purchase a few items for themselves. Still others argue that Christmas time is the best time to shop for yourself in terms of finances because you are shopping at a time when most items are on sale. This article will take a look at the concept of shopping for yourself while Christmas shopping and will offer some advice for doing this without distracting from your regular Christmas shopping. If you do opt to shop for yourself while you are Christmas shopping it is important to remember to keep your budget in mind while you do your shopping. If you do plan on shopping for yourself during the Christmas shopping it is important to budget for these expenditures. Whether you opt to include yourself in the Christmas shopping budget or create a separate budget for your personal shopping, you should make some plan for how you will deal with these additional financial concerns. One way to do this is to include yourself on your Christmas shopping list and set aside some money for your personal purchases when you are working on your Christmas budget. Another way to deal with the financial concerns is to plan on paying for gifts for everyone else on your Christmas list in cash and to make your purchases for yourself on a credit card. This is helpful because it does not reduce the amount of money you would otherwise spend on your friends and family members. Another problem which often arises when you opt to shop for yourself when you are doing your regular Christmas shopping is that you may become distracted and not complete your Christmas shopping on time. Consider purchasing a sweater for your sister. You may look through the racks of sweaters and quickly choose one in a color, style and size you think will be appropriate for your sister. You might spend some time looking at the different colors and styles and trying to decide which size will fit best but in general it doesn't take more than a few minutes to select a sweater and make your purchase. Now consider purchasing a sweater for yourself during the Christmas season. You may select several different styles you like in one or two sizes and a few different colors. You can take the items to the dressing room and try on each one to determine which style, color and size you like best. You might even try the sweaters on with a few different styles of pants or skirts which you think will match well. It is easy to see from this comparison how a shopper can easily spend a half hour to an hour buying a sweater for themselves and less than ten minutes purchasing the same sweater for someone else. It is also easy to see from this example how shopping for yourself while doing your Christmas shopping can prevent you from completing your shopping in a timely manner. For this reason it is wise to leave your personal shopping until after you have completed all of your Christmas shopping. Getting Your Christmas Shopping Done Early Waiting until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping can be just downright stressful. Additionally, it can make it incredibly hard to find the perfect gift for each person on your shopping list. Furthermore those who wait until the last minute to finish their Christmas shopping are often faced with the potential for a looming credit card debt for the start of the following year because they did the bulk of their Christmas shopping in December of the previous year. For all of the reasons above it makes a great deal of sense to get your Christmas shopping done early. Those who complete their Christmas shopping early gain a great deal of benefits. First of all they do not have to deal with crowded shopping areas as hordes of other shoppers are also trying to complete their last minute Christmas shopping. Shoppers who complete their Christmas shopping early also have more time to relax and focus on other activities such as decorating, wrapping presents, baking cookies or just spending some quite time with family. Finally, those who complete their Christmas shopping early also gain financial benefits. They can take advantage of sales which occur year round if they spread out their shopping plus they do not have to worry about paying for all of their purchases at one time. Now that you understand all the benefits of getting your Christmas Shopping done early, you may still wonder how you can achieve this goal. One way to do this is to think of Christmas shopping as a year long event. Sit down shortly after the Christmas season to make a list of each person you plan to purchase gifts for in the following Christmas season. You can also jot down a few gift ideas for each of these people as well. Creating a list at this time gives you a whole year to spend time searching for gifts for each member on your list. For example you may wish to purchase a particular CD for your sister. If it is a difficult CD to find, you have plenty of time to begin tracking down this time. If it is a CD that is easy to find, you can plan on waiting until it goes on sale and may find you are able to save quite a bit of money by doing this. If you plan on getting your Christmas shopping done early by shopping year round for friends or relatives, you should always keep your shopping list handy. Your wallet is a good place to keep it so it is always available when you are out shopping. Not only should you always carry your list with you but you should keep it up to date. As you purchase a gift for each person on your list, cross off their name and write down the actual gift you selected if it was different from the gift idea you had written down originally. This important because it will help to prevent you from purchasing multiple gifts for those on your list because you forgot you had already purchased their gift. While getting your Christmas shopping done early does have some distinct advantages, there are also pitfalls to this type of shopping. Those who do their shopping throughout the year are often not as budget conscious as those who shop at the last minute. This is because those who shop at the last minute understand the bills for all of their Christmas gifts will be arriving at approximately the same time. However, those who shop early often lose track of how much they are spending on Christmas gifts because the bills blend in with regular monthly expenses. To avoid this problem, those who plan to shop throughout the year should set a budget for Christmas presents. They should determine ahead of time how much they wish to spend on each person on their list and should try not to exceed this amount. Finding Bargains While Christmas Shopping Everyone knows that the Christmas season is all about giving and that no one should be concerned about how much a particular gift costs but most of us also have to worry about our budgets while we are doing our Christmas shopping. While there are truly some people to which money is no object the reality is that most of us simply cannot afford to purchase everything we want during the Christmas season. We all have to make some concessions while we do our Christmas shopping and keep our eyes open for great deals. Fortunately there is a great deal of bargains to be found during the Christmas season. Finding bargains while Christmas shopping is actually quite easy. In fact it is so easy that finding items which are not a bargain is considered more of a challenge. Although most stores hold sales throughout the year, just about every retailer offers significant bargains in the weeks just before Christmas. These retailers know shoppers will be out in full force during this time and they offer their best deals hoping to attract a great share of the shoppers. The best way to ensure you are receiving the best possible deals while you are Christmas shopping is to spend some time window shopping before the Christmas season. This will give you a good idea of what types of items are currently being sold and will also give you a good indication of the prices of these items. This information can be used when Christmas shopping to determine just how much you are saving by purchasing sale items just before Christmas. When shopping for bargain items at Christmas it is very important to be aware of the return policy on the item. While you might think the gift is a great idea at the time, you may realize it is not such a good idea later or you may find a defect in the product and want to return it. However, if there was a no return policy on the product you will not be able to get your money back for the item. Even if you decide to keep the item, the recipient of the gift may not like the item and may wish to return it. However, if you bought it in a sale where no returns were allowed, she may not be able to return the gift. There is, however, one aspect to shopping for Christmas bargains which all shoppers should understand. It is the simple concept that just because an item is on sale does not mean you should purchase the item. Some Christmas shoppers get caught up in the idea of purchasing a bargain item which has been greatly reduced in price but it may be an item they do not really need. When this is the case it is a better idea to not purchase the item. You will be saving money by doing this. Think of it this way, you may find a warm wool coat which is reduced in price by 75%. This may seem like a bargain that is too good to pass up but if you live in a warm climate and will never wear the coat it is actually a waste of money. You may be only paying 25% of the original price but if you do not buy the coat at all you will not be paying anything. Easing the Financial Burden of Christmas Shopping Although we all would prefer to not have to worry about finances when it comes to Christmas shopping the unfortunate truth is that the majority of people do not have unlimited funds to spend on Christmas presents for their friends, relatives and co-workers. As a result most of us have to set budgets for Christmas shopping and have to repay any debts which are incurred while shopping for Christmas presents. However, there are ways to ease the financial burden of Christmas shopping. Some of the most common ways to easy the financial burden include spreading out the Christmas shopping throughout the year, opening a Christmas savings account and sticking to a strict budget when it comes to purchasing Christmas presents. If you typically wait until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping you probably understand the stress of last minute Christmas shopping all too well. Not only is it stressful to have to find appropriate gifts and purchase them, wrap them and deliver them to the recipient in a short time period but it also places a tremendous strain on the wallet especially for those who purchase a large number of gifts or for those who purchase extravagant gift for the recipients on their Christmas shopping list. The problem with this type of Christmas shopping strategy, in addition to the stress of finding great gifts, is the buyer is faced with paying for all of these gifts at one time. This can be very difficult especially for those who are already on a tight budget and may not have a great deal of money left over in their monthly budget. Without proper planning these individuals may be faced with the dilemma of either shortening their list of gift recipients or purchasing inexpensive gifts for each member on their list. However, if these same people plan to shop throughout the year they may find they are able to purchase gifts for one or two individuals on their list each month with the money that is left over in their monthly budget. This strategy of spreading out the Christmas shopping throughout the year makes the financial burden of Christmas shopping significantly less difficult. Opening a Christmas savings account can also be very useful for the purpose of easing the financial burden of Christmas shopping. This is helpful because most Christmas savings accounts accrue interest and do not allow you to withdraw money from the account before a certain time. This allows you to gain a small amount of interest on your savings and ensures you won't be tempted to use the money you are saving for Christmas shopping for other expenses throughout the year. You could always take an envelop and add a percentage of each one of your paychecks during the year but if you save this way you will not be earning any interest on the money you are putting aside. Additionally, you may be tempted to use some of the money for small purchase or emergencies which arise during the year. A Christmas savings account is so convenient, you can even have money directly deposited into it from each paycheck or you could simply transfer money into your Christmas savings account from another savings account or your checking account each month. Finally, the financial burden of Christmas shopping can be eased by setting a strict budget and sticking to this budget. This is important because it can help to keep you from spending more on shopping for Christmas gifts than you had intended. If you budget carefully and plan on only spending as much money as you already have saved or as much as you can afford to spend than you do not have to worry about going into debt to provide Christmas gifts for your loved ones. While it is important to set a budget, it is also important to track your purchases to make sure you are sticking to your budget. If you go over your spending limit on a few people on your list, you will have to consider either eliminating a few people or reducing the amount of money you can spend on a few people. This will help you to remain under your budget. Early Christmas Shopping If you are one of those people who gets their Christmas shopping done early every year, you probably find yourself getting a great deal of mean looks from others around the holiday season. This is especially true if you make a habit of letting others know you have already finished your Christmas shopping. This happens because the vast majority of people do not get their Christmas shopping done early and may be envious of those who manage to finish their shopping early. The fact that most Christmas shoppers wait until the last minute is evident by the crowds who flock to malls and shopping centers in the final days before Christmas. If you are one of these people who always finishes their Christmas shopping early you may already have a method to accomplishing this goal. However, if you are like the majority of people who spend every year last minute Christmas shopping this article will provide you with some tips for getting your Christmas shopping done early this year. One of the best ways to get your Christmas shopping done early is to try to do a great deal of Christmas shopping for the next year in the first few days after Christmas. Although the stores are usually quite crowded on these days there is not the same sense of urgency which prevails in the days just before Christmas so the atmosphere is more relaxed. Additionally, many stores are holding sales so not only can you do a large portion of your shopping but you are also likely to save a great deal of money in the process. The first few days after Christmas are an excellent time to shop because you are likely still in the Christmas spirit. Another way to get your Christmas shopping done early is to plan on doing all of your Christmas shopping online this year. This is an excellent idea because most retailers will wrap the item for you and ship it directly to the recipient. You will pay a little more for these services but the convenience of not having to do the wrapping yourself or stand in long lines at the post office is certainly worth the extra fee. Committing to Christmas shopping online really helps you to get you shopping done early because you know you have to make your purchases early in order for them to arrive on time. Another way to get your Christmas shopping done early is plan on purchasing two gifts for each person on your list at the time of their birthday. You can give them the first gift for their birthday and store the other item away until Christmas. This is a great idea because it helps you to get your shopping done early so you can avoid the hassle of going to overcrowded malls and shopping centers and searching for last minute Christmas gifts. If you follow this simple strategy when the Christmas season arrives, you will already have most, if not all, of your Christmas gifts purchased already and you can spend your time relaxing and enjoying the holiday season instead of running around trying to find the perfect gift for each person on your list. While this strategy is effective it is important to note you could be destined to some last minute shopping if you have people on your list who have birthdays in late December. In this case you will have to plan ahead and purchase their birthday gift and their Christmas gift early. Christmas Shopping Year Round There are a lot of great advantages to Christmas shopping year round. Some of these advantages include avoiding the stress of last minute shopping, not having to worry about accumulating exorbitant credit card bills during the Christmas season and being able to enjoy the Christmas spirit all year. This article will take a look at some of these advantages in an effort to explain the benefits of Christmas shopping year round. One of the biggest benefits of Christmas shopping year round is not having to do the bulk of your Christmas shopping at the last minute. It also may means not having to do much Christmas shopping in the typically hectic time after Thanksgiving and before Christmas Eve when malls and shopping centers are usually crowded beyond belief and most people have a ton of other obligations to take care of during this time. Although there are some people who enjoy shopping during this hectic and chaotic time, most people find it stressful and only do it because they have procrastinated and still have some Christmas shopping to get done before Christmas Eve. However, making a conscious effort to Christmas shop all year round helps to eliminate a great deal of the stress which is typically associated with last minute Christmas shopping. It also helps you to purchase more meaningful gifts for everyone on your Christmas list because you are not rushing around to purchase the Christmas gifts at the last minute. You may find a gift you think is absolute perfect for your sister in the month of April. All you have to do is purchase the gift when you find it and save it for the Christmas season. People who do their Christmas shopping year round are not only less stressed around the holiday season but they also have more free time to participate in other activities. Those who like to bake may skip baking if they feel like they still have too much Christmas shopping to do while those who did their shopping ahead of time can take some time to relax and bake wonderful cookies to enjoy during the Christmas season. Another downside of last minute Christmas shopping is the amount of bills which accumulate. For those who rushed to get their Christmas shopping done in the month of Dec. the New Year can bring in a new set of financial problems as repaying the debts accrued while Christmas shopping can be quite daunting. However, those who wisely did their Christmas shopping throughout the year do not have this problem. If they budget a certain amount of their monthly income for the purpose of Christmas shopping they may not have even noticed the financial strains typically associated with last minute Christmas shopping. Although last minute shoppers may save up to do their Christmas shopping all at once by putting their money into a special savings account, it can be difficult to stick to a budget when you are shopping at the last minute. This is because there they may wind up spending more than anticipated on each person on their list because they cannot find anything else to buy which seems appropriate. When this happens and there is a shortage of time, it is common to just purchase the more expensive item rather than keep looking. Finally, Christmas shopping year round is a great idea because it helps people to stay in the Christmas spirit throughout the year. While many of us get caught up in the spirit of giving during the holidays, those who are always Christmas shopping may enjoy these feelings of generosity throughout the year. Giving is a wonderful experience and although you may not actually be giving the gifts until Christmas you are purchasing them at other times during the year and this can be very fulfilling. Sometimes simply finding a great gift for a loved one can put you in a great mood and make you feel as though you have really accomplished something wonderful. Christmas Shopping with Kids Did you read the title of this article correctly? You might want to go back and double check to make sure you understand what this article is going to be about. The most significant word in this title is the word with. Had we used the word for in the title instead this would be a completely different article but the use of the word with indicates this article will be about shopping while your children accompany you to the stores which is a totally different subject. An article on shopping for children would cover subjects such as buying age appropriate toys and choosing toys which will meet the parent's approval. This article, however, will focus on how to have a successful shopping trip with children in tow. While it is certainly true that shopping with kids can be difficult at times, it is also possible to have an effective, efficient and fun shopping expedition with children. It does take a little advanced planning and cooperation on the children's' behalf but it can be done. This article will cover a few of the basic tips for having a successful Christmas shopping trip with kids. Some of these tips include ensuring the children are well rested, taking frequent breaks, incorporating activities appropriate for children into the adventure and being prepared for any situation. Depending on the age of the children, it might be critical to ensure the children are well rested at the start of the shopping trip and that the trip does not last so long that the child will be tired out before the end of the trip. This is very important especially in the case of young children who still take daily naps. If you plan on Christmas shopping with a child who still takes daily naps, it might be worthwhile to plan your shopping trip after the child's nap. This will ensure the child has had sufficient rest and will not run out of energy or become cranky during the shopping trip as a result of exhaustion. It might be possible to plan a shopping trip for the time before a child's nap if the child takes an afternoon late in the day but in this case care should be taken to end the Christmas shopping trip well before the regularly schedule nap time. It is also important to take frequent breaks when Christmas shopping with a child. This is important because children categorically have short attention spans and are not likely to be able to be able to shop for hours on end without short diversions. A few examples of breaks which may be appropriate may include stopping for a small snack, taking a lunch break or visiting a play area in the mall or shopping center. Each of these breaks will give the child an opportunity to enjoy a break from the monotony of shopping and will also help to distract the child if they become frustrated with the shopping. Christmas shopping with children can also be made easier by incorporating activities appropriate for children into the schedule of the shopping trip. This may include visiting stores which may be of interest to the child. For example a trip to a toy store or a store which offers the opportunity to test out gadgets might be interesting for a child. It might even be worthwhile to promise the child a small toy as a reward for cooperating during the trip. This would be most effective if you schedule this trip for late in the shopping trip. This will help to ensure the child behaves for the majority of the trip. It will also help to make the remainder of the trip easier because the child will be interested in his new toy and too distracted to complain about visiting more stores. Finally, it is important to be prepared for a variety of situations when Christmas shopping with kids. If your children are not yet potty trained, be sure to bring a supply of diapers and a change of clothes. Bringing along small toys and snacks is also helpful. The toys can be used to distract the child while standing in lines. Snacks will be helpful if the child complains of hunger or as a distraction if the child starts to become bored with the shopping trip. Christmas Shopping the Day after Thanksgiving The day after Thanksgiving is commonly referred to as "Black Friday". This day is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the years and for many signifies the first day of Christmas shopping. While the term black Friday was originally used to represent the day in which retailers returned to profitability many who work in the retail industry use this term as a way to describe the crowds and chaos which accompany Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Likewise consumers expect significant sales to go along with the large crowds which flock to stores. For many shopping on the day after Thanksgiving is a tradition which wouldn't be missed for the world. These individuals look forward to the sales and starting their shopping as a way to get into the Christmas spirit. These individuals can be counted on to arrive before the malls and shopping centers even open to get a great parking spot, to make multiple trips to their cars to drop off packages before returning to the shopping area to make more purchases and to almost literally shop until they drop. These are the individuals retailers count on each year to boost their quarterly earnings and to help them report profitability for the year. Those who enjoy Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving feel this way for a number of different reasons. Some enjoy shopping on this day for the tremendous sales which are inevitable. Still others enjoy shopping on this day because they like to take things one season as a time and figure now that Thanksgiving is over; it is time to start focusing on Christmas. There are even others who like shopping on this day for the excellent people watching opportunity the day presents. Whether or not they get any actual shopping done these individuals flock to shopping malls on the day after Thanksgiving because they know there will be tons of other shoppers to observe. Finally there are those who start their Christmas shopping on the day after Thanksgiving because of a sense of tradition. It is these individuals who have simply always started their Christmas shopping on this day out of habit. Their parents probably started Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving and they simply learned this is the day to start Christmas shopping. They will also likely pass on the habit to their own children. Conversely there are other shoppers who absolutely refuse to step foot inside a mall or shopping center on the day after Thanksgiving. For these shoppers trying to get any shopping done on this day is near impossible. They are willing to sacrifice the opportunity to buy some items as gifts at excellent sale prices just to avoid the throng of shoppers who swarm the stores on this one particular day. However, it is important to not that just because these shoppers avoid shopping areas on the day after Thanksgiving does not mean they don't enjoy great sale prices on the Christmas gifts they purchase. These shoppers may take advantage of sales throughout the year to accomplish their Christmas shopping within their set budget. There are still others who typically do not do any shopping on the day after Thanksgiving but these individuals do not necessarily avoid the malls and shopping areas on this day either. There are many people who enjoy taking a trip to the local mall or shopping center on the day after Thanksgiving just to enjoy the hustle and bustle the day presents. For these people just walking around and experiencing the excitement around them helps to put them into the holiday spirit. Whether you are an early Christmas shopper, a last minute Christmas shopper or just a people watcher, you likely understand it is appropriate to expect large crowds in malls and shopping centers on the day after Thanksgiving. It is up to you to decide whether or not you choose to join the shoppers on this hectic day. Christmas Shopping Online When most of us think of Christmas shopping we picture crowded malls and shopping areas, difficulty parking and sales racks in complete disarray. For some people this hectic chaos is what Christmas shopping is all about and they would never consider avoiding the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season for anything. For these individual this is a very important part of the Christmas season. However, for shoppers who find this scene to be too frustrating and stressful there is an excellent alternative. Christmas shopping online is a relatively new concept but each year more and more people are turning to online shopping to complete all, or even just part of, their Christmas shopping. This article will offer useful tips for completing your Christmas shopping online. One of the most useful tips for Christmas shopping online is to do your Christmas shopping early but not too early. It is important to complete your online Christmas early enough to have the item shipped to the recipient in time to arrive before Christmas without incurring charges for rushed shipping. This is important because you want your friend or family member to receive the gift on time but you don't wan to pay a great deal of extra money for shipping. Standard shipping rates are typically quite reasonable but express shipping rates can be rather expensive. While it is important to complete your online Christmas shopping early enough to get the gift to your friend or family member before Christmas, you do not want the gift to arrive early. While there is technically nothing wrong with this, it may be result in the gift being opened early or the recipient putting the gift in safe spot until Christmas and then forgetting it was ever received. One problem which can occur when you do your Christmas shopping online is that the item you purchase may look better online than it does in reality. To avoid this problem it is best to only purchase items online if you are absolutely sure what the item actually looks like. For example you may have seen a particular model of a coffee maker in stores. When purchasing the item online you should compare the model number to ensure you are purchasing the item you really want. If you do this you, and the recipient of the gift, will likely be pleased with the purchase. If you have never seen the item in person it is important to view the item carefully. You should study all of the given information including the measurements to ensure the item you are envisioning as you view the online advertisement is the item you friend or family member will receive in the mail. Finally when Christmas shopping online, it is important to only make purchases from reputable retailers. You may be tempted to purchase items which appear to be an incredible bargain but if the retailer has a bad reputation or you cannot verify the reputation of the retailer it might be a better idea to purchase the item from another retailer who has a more well established reputation of providing excellent products and services to their clients. You may wind up paying slightly more in this case but you will gain the security of knowing you are dealing with a reputable retailer and you will not have to worry about the quality of the item you select or the shipping practices of the retailer.
Christmas Shopping on a Budget Although most people enjoy the spirit of giving at Christmas time, it is also a fact that Christmas shopping can be a significant financial burden for many. This is especially true for those who have a large family or a large group of friends who regularly exchange Christmas gifts. Christmas shopping can also be a financial problem for those who feel compelled to purchase expensive gifts for each person on their list. However, there are ways to deal with the financial burden which often results from Christmas shopping. One of the ways to deal with this financial problem is to set a budget beforehand. Another way to deal with the financial stress of Christmas shopping is to shop throughout the year instead of all at once. This article will discuss the importance of setting a budget for Christmas shopping as well as how Christmas shopping can become less financially taxing by spreading out the Christmas shopping throughout the year. Those who have concerns over the amount of money they will be spending on their Christmas shopping should consider setting a budget for their Christmas shopping before they begin their shopping endeavor. In order to begin the process of setting a budget for Christmas shopping, it is important to first create a list of all the people you intend to buy Christmas presents for this holiday season. This list should include all of the close friends and family members you typically purchase gifts for as well as any co-workers or employees you normally purchase gifts for, your mail carrier or your children's teachers. You may also wish to budget for gifts donated to toy drives organized by charitable organizations if you typically contribute during these events. Once you have your list of gift recipients there are a couple of ways to go about establishing a budget. Perhaps the simplest way is to decide how much you plan to spend on Christmas shopping and divide this amount by the number of gift recipients on your list. This will result in a budget in which you plan to spend the same amount of money on Christmas gifts for each person on your Christmas list. This type of budget strategy may be appropriate if you plan on purchasing similar gifts for everyone on your Christmas list but it may not work out well if you want to purchase something really special for a few of your closest friends or relatives. Another strategy for establishing a Christmas shopping budget is to determine how much money you would like to spend and then divide the individuals into different categories. Some of the categories you might want to include are close friends and relatives, business associates, acquaintances and gifts which are purchased for people you do not know. Once you have all of the members of your list categorized you can determine the percentage of your total budget you would like to spend on each category. For example you might decide to spend 50% of your total budget on close friends and relatives, 25% of your total budget on business associates, 15% of your total budget on acquaintances and the remaining 10% on Christmas gifts for charity drives. Then you can use these numbers to determine the total amount of money you will spend on each category and divide that number by the total number of people in each category to figure out a dollar amount for each person on your Christmas list. A final strategy for establishing a budget for your Christmas shopping is to start out by determining how much you plan to spend on some of the most important people on your gift recipient list. This will most likely include your closest relatives. Once you set dollar amounts for your closest relatives, it is time to divide up the remaining amount of money in your Christmas shopping budget. This can either be done arbitrarily by dividing the remaining amount in your budget by the number of people left on your list or you can continue to go through your list selecting a dollar amount for each person until you reach your budget. At this time if there are still people remaining on your list you will have to either reevaluate the dollar amounts you have already chosen or consider eliminating some people from your list. Christmas Shopping for Your Wife Most men do not enjoy Christmas shopping or any kind of shopping at all. While they may generally dislike Christmas shopping, they especially do not like Christmas shopping for their wives. These men may love their wives dearly but the thought of purchasing Christmas gifts for their wives seems like a daunting task. Their wives most likely have no idea that their husband deals with the stress associated for Christmas shopping for them each year. They likely assume they are easy to shop for and that it is a piece of cake to select a gift for them. This article will examine why most men have so much trouble Christmas shopping for their wives and will offer some tips for gift ideas their wives are sure to love. Most men attend a number of parties with their wives throughout the year. They may attend birthday parties for nieces and nephews, engagement parties for cousins or friends and housewarming parties for friends. They also likely arrive at most of these occasions bearing gifts, however, in most cases it is the wife who does the gift shopping. Most women enjoy shopping and do not mind always tackling this task. However, the women cannot help their wives when it comes to shopping for them at Christmas. These poor men have no practice shopping for presents and then all of a sudden they find themselves having to purchase Christmas presents for their wife without any help from her. Following are a few gift ideas your wife is sure to love. A scrapbook is a great idea for a Christmas gift for your wife especially if she is always complaining about never having time to organize the family photos. This idea may scare many men because they are afraid they have to be artistically talented to give their wife this type of gift. Fortunately for them there are many individuals in the business of making scrapbooks. All the husband has to do is round up several photos and sit down with the scrapbooking consultant to discuss what type of book he is looking for and his wife's favorite colors and preferences. With this information the consultant can create a lovely scrapbook from the pictures the husband provides. A spa gift certificate is another excellent idea for men who find Christmas shopping to be difficult. Most women enjoy being pampered and receiving treatments such as manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and other rejuvenating treatments. Even if you are not sure where she would like to go to receive these treatments you can purchase a gift certificate from a service which works in conjunction with a number of spas around the country. Another gift which many women will greatly appreciate is a gift certificate for a maid service. This is especially useful for women who work a full time job and do the majority of the housework. It can be quite difficult to keep the house in great shape will work 40 plus hours per week. Giving a gift of maid service does not imply you do not think the house is clean enough but rather sends the message that you realize how hard your wife works and want to make her life easier. An even better idea is to make up a homemade coupon book with items such as cooking dinner or cleaning the bathroom. If your wife typically does these chores she can cash in one of her coupons for a night off from this chore if she is feeling tired. Christmas Shopping for Your Husband You might think that Christmas shopping for your husband would be the easiest part of your Christmas shopping each year. You might mistakenly think this is going to be such an easy chore because you love your husband and know him really well but in actuality; Christmas shopping for your husband is sometimes the most difficult part of the holiday season. This can happen for a number of reasons. First of all you may feel added stress to find a perfect gift for your husband. While you may be willing to settle for gifts which are merely acceptable for other members on your Christmas list, you are likely to feel stressed to search for items which are spectacular for really close relatives such as your husband. If you have been married to y our husband for a number of years you may also have difficulty Christmas shopping for him because you may feel like you have already bought him everything. This article will offer some useful tips for Christmas shopping for your husband which should make the process easier. Considering your husbands interests and hobbies is one way to make Christmas shopping for him easier. Paying attention to these interests and hobbies can give you a better idea of what type of items would make great Christmas gifts for him. For example, if he recently started golfing and is still renting golf clubs you could consider purchasing a golf bag for him and giving him a gift certificate to purchase a set of golf clubs to fill the bag. Or if he recently started running, you might consider items which would make his run more enjoyable. You might purchase an MP3 player which is designed to be worn on an armband while running or a speed and distance monitor which tracks his mileage and his pace throughout his workout. Another useful tip for Christmas shopping for your husband is to not be afraid to repeat gifts you have given him the past. You might normally consider purchasing a bottle of cologne for him for Christmas and then decide against it because you realize you gave him a bottle of cologne for Christmas two years ago. This is very common because many people think it is boring to give the same gift more than once but it is not always a bad idea. This is especially in the case of items which can be used up such as cologne, scented soaps and candles. It makes sense to gives these gifts repeatedly because your husband uses them often and runs out each year. However, even items such as clothing can be given as repeat gifts. It is acceptable to give your husband items such as ties, sweaters or pants on more than one occasion because clothing goes out of style and likewise your husband's taste may change. The tie which he loved a couple of years ago may not be one of his favorites anymore. However, if you gave him a trendy new tie for Christmas this year it is likely to be a gift which is much appreciated. Finally, if you simply cannot decide what to get your husband for Christmas, it is acceptable to ask him what he wants. Have him make a list of several items he wants and plan on purchasing a few items from the list as well as a few surprises. Christmas Shopping For Your Employees If you are the boss at your company and you and your company have had a successful year financially, you may want to share some of that success by purchasing Christmas gifts for your employees. However, Christmas shopping for your employees is not an easy task. There are a number of factors which contribute to the difficulty of the situation. The number of employees is one such factor. You may have a large number of employees and they may not share similar interests making it difficult to decide on a gift. Additionally, you may be concerned with the prospect of employees talking about their gifts and jealousy arising if it is believed some employees received more expensive or better gifts than others. This article will discuss some of these concerns and will offer tips for dealing with these dilemmas. Favoritism is a serious issue which all bosses should carefully consider when Christmas shopping for their employees. Bosses should assume the gifts they give to their employees will be discussed and compared so it is wise to not purchase any gifts which will be viewed as favoritism. One way to avoid this problem is to purchase the same item for each of the employees. This may seem impersonal but office politics often takes precedence over sentiment and in this case it is wise to give each employee the same item to avoid any potential problems. The boss may opt to give more expensive items to hiring ranking employees. This is an acceptable practice as long as each employee on the same tier is given the same gift and employees on higher tiers are given more expensive gifts than employees on lower tiers. Bosses also have to consider finances when Christmas shopping for gifts for their employees. This is a particularly important concern especially in cases where the boss has a large number of employees working for him. In this case the boss may have to consider giving only small token gifts due to the large number of employees. If he is paying for these gifts out of his own pocket, it is not reasonable to expect him to purchase extravagant gifts for many employees. If the boss is receiving a bonus for his hard work during the year, he may make a decision to allot a percentage of his bonus to the purpose of purchasing Christmas gifts for his employees as a way to show his appreciation for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. In some cases, the company may even allow their high ranking employees to expense the purchase of Christmas gifts for employees because it is viewed as a method of keeping morale high and retaining employees. In this case the boss should review the company policy and determine how much it is acceptable to spend on each employee before doing his Christmas shopping to ensure he will not be violating any company policies in making his purchases. Another difficulty bosses often face when Christmas shopping for their employees is selecting a gift which will be appropriate for all of the employees. This can be a difficult task because the boss may have a wide range of employees working for him with varying interests. As previously discussed, it is considered a good idea to purchase the same gift for each employee instead of choosing a distinct gift for everyone. While this makes shopping easier in one capacity by ensuring the boss only has to select one gift, it complicates the Christmas shopping process by tasking the boss to select one gift which will be universally appreciated by all of the employees in the office. Examples of some gifts which are generally appreciated by all may include items with the company logo such as sweatshirts, mugs or other office items. These gifts are not only practical but also help to promote a sense of pride in the company. Gift certificates are also always appreciated. Gift certificates to local restaurants or business or online retailers are gifts which are likely to be appreciated and valued by all. Christmas Shopping for Your Boss Christmas shopping for your boss can be a difficult situation. First of all purchasing a Christmas gift for your superiors at work is considered to be somewhat of a faux pas unless the gift is being purchased by a group of employees. While giving Christmas gifts to subordinates is generally an accepted practice, gifts from individuals to a boss can be viewed as an attempt to gain advantages such as promotions or favorable projects or treatments. As a result care should always be taken when giving Christmas gifts to a boss. This article will take a look at situations in which giving a Christmas gift to your boss is acceptable and will offer tips for Christmas shopping for your boss. While an individual giving a Christmas gift to the boss is not an accepted practice it is acceptable for a group of employees to purchase a joint gift for their boss. As an example, a boss who oversees the work of a small group of employees may receive a gift from this small group collectively and this would be considered appropriate. In this way the gift is viewed as a gesture of appreciate from the members of the group and not an attempt by one of the members to gain favorable treatment. However, even in this acceptable situation, Christmas shopping for your boss could be quite difficult. The first area of concern when Christmas shopping for your boss is setting a budget. If you are shopping for a gift from a large group of people, it is a good idea to collect the money first and then use the amount collected to set the budget for the gift. You may ask for a small amount of money, typically around $5-$10 from each person and once the money is collected you can search for items which fall within your budget. You should not exceed the amount of money you collected because it is not considered acceptable to ask for additional money if you had promised to stay within budget. Most people have a great deal of shopping to do and being asked to contribute additional money can be somewhat of a hardship for them. However, it is considered acceptable to spend a little less than the budget as long as you refund the remaining money equally to everyone who has contributed. For example if you spend $20 less than you collected from 20 people, you should return $1 to each person who contributed. If you are the person shopping for the Christmas present you may have to exercise some common sense and make judgment calls if necessary. For example if you collect $120 and purchase an item which costs $121.04, including tax, you may opt to simply pay the additional amount yourself if you are able to do so. The additional amount is quite small and if the gift is appropriate, it might be worthwhile to incur this small expense for the sake of purchasing a perfect gift which is within your budget. Christmas shopping for a boss can also be rather difficult because you may not know what to buy for your boss. If you are not particularly close to your boss and do not often socialize with him you may not know a great deal about his interests. In this case it might be a good idea to either ask someone who knows him better to do the Christmas shopping or at least ask them to provide you with a few gift ideas. Other employees may know the boss better because they have worked with him longer or because they participate in activities such as company softball games with him. In either case, they can probably provide you with some insight into his interests which would help you select a gift he will appreciate. If you are unable to come up with a suitable gift idea, a gift certificate to a local restaurant is always an appropriate, and appreciated, Christmas gift. Christmas Shopping for Out of Town Relatives Although living nearby to all of your relatives can be a wonderful experience, unfortunately this is not always the case and relatives are often separated by vast differences. Sometimes you are forced to relocate because of a job and sometimes you just move because you would like to live in and experience a new city, state or country. Likewise one or more of your relatives may opt to relocate for the same reasons. Regardless of how or why it happened many of us often find ourselves in a situation where our relatives may be spread out all over the globe. This is a sad fact of life which makes it more difficult to stay in touch and also greatly complicates the Christmas shopping process. This article will take a look at some of the dilemmas associated with Christmas shopping for out of town relatives and will provide some strategies for dealing with these dilemmas. The financial cost and the hassle of shipping gifts is one of the most obvious problems in this scenario. Items which are large, heavy or fragile can be difficult to ship. For example you may find a beautiful crystal vase that you know your out of town cousin will love but you may be hesitant to purchase this item because you are afraid it will be lost or damaged during shipping. Even shipping small items can be a problem particularly if they are items which would be hard to replace such as collectors items or limited edition items. In these cases it may be wise to stick with gifts such as gift certificates for your out of town relatives. These can often be included in a Christmas card and mailed with only the use of one stamp. Although these gifts may seem unexciting it is much easier than dealing with the long lines which typically exist at any shipping location around the Christmas season. Another problem associated with Christmas shopping for out of town relatives is you may have a great deal of difficulty selecting gifts for these relatives. You may have been very close with the relative when they lived nearby but distance can make it difficult to stay in touch and can result in emotional distance between you and your far away relatives. You may be unaware of her current hobbies and interests which can make it difficult to select a personalized gift she will really appreciate. Opting for more generic items such as sweaters or scented bath soaps and candles is one way to deal with this problem. Another way to deal with this dilemma is to make a concerted effort to get in contact with your relative before you begin the Christmas season. Whether you give them a call or send an email or letter you will be opening up the lines of communication which can give you some insight into their current life and can help make it easier for you to select a great Christmas gift she will really appreciate. Even purchasing items for the home can be difficult when it comes to out of town relatives. You may see a throw pillow or a vase you think your cousin will absolutely love and which would match her living room perfectly but you may be unaware that she has redecorated the living room by painting the walls a different color or purchasing new furniture to replace the furniture you remember so well. This may seem like a big detail but even if you have kept in contact with your cousin she may have forgotten to mention she had redecorated. This can make purchasing home related items for out of town relatives quite difficult. You can help to alleviate this problem by purchasing decorative items as gifts but including a gift receipt with the gift when you ship it to your relative. This makes it easier for them to return the item if it does not match their decor and purchase a more suitable item. They will appreciate the gesture of your gift as well as your thoughtfulness in allowing them to choose an item that really works well in their living space. Christmas Shopping for Kids Christmas is a truly magical season that is enjoyed by many but no one enjoys the Christmas season more than kids. It might be the prospect of some well deserved time off from school, the allure of the lights and decorations, the beauty of the snow that often accompanies Christmas or just the anticipation of Santa and his sleigh filled with toys that is so exciting for children but it is evident that most kids are truly enchanted by Christmas. For this reason many adults truly enjoy shopping for kids and Christmas time. While Christmas shopping for kids is a great deal of fun there are some factors to consider when Christmas shopping for kids. A few of the specific concerns include selecting age appropriate toys, selecting toys which are not too noisy or too big for the child's living situation, selecting toys the child does not already have, selecting toys which the parents consider to be acceptable and finally selecting toys the child will enjoy. This can make Christmas shopping for kids a little more difficult but does not make the shopping any less fun. Selecting age appropriate toys is very important when Christmas shopping for kids. This is so important for a couple of reasons. First of all it is important because toys which are designed for older children might be potentially dangerous for the child. For example toys which are designed for children over the age of three may contain small pieces which pose a choking hazard. Children under the age of three still often put toys and other objects in their mouths so they must receive toys which contain only pieces large enough to not be a choking hazard. Also, toys which are designed for an older child or even a younger child may not be as much fun for the child as they would be for children of the appropriate age. If the child is too young for the toy, they may be come easily frustrated because they can not use the toy appropriately. Conversely a child who is too old for a particular toy may become bored with the toy quickly. When shopping for Christmas gifts for a child, it is also important to consider the child's parents and the living situation. This includes the size of the living area and the proximity to neighbors. Specifically toys which are particularly noisy may not be appropriate for a child who lives in an apartment building with other apartment units nearby. Also, large toys such as a trampoline may not be appropriate for a child who does not have a yard large enough to accommodate such a gift. Similarly large indoor items such as a foosball table would not be appropriate for a child who does not have a dedicated toy room to accommodate such a large item. As a general rule it is best to stick with small items which do not make a great deal of noise when Christmas shopping for kids. It is also important to consider the personal beliefs of the parents when shopping for Christmas gifts for their children. Specifically you should not purchase an item for a child if you know their parents are ethically opposed to such as item. Guns and violent video games are a couple of obvious example of Christmas gifts which may offend the parents. There are many parents who do not allow their children to play with these items because they believe they promote violence. If you are not sure about the feelings of the parents, it is best not to select these items. Finally, when Christmas shopping for a child, it is wise to consult the parents beforehand. This can be helpful for a couple of different reasons. First the parents can give some insight into the child's hobbies and interests which may make selecting a gift easier. They may even suggest a specific item from the child's Christmas list ensuring you are giving the child something he really wants for Christmas. Consulting the parents can also prevent you from giving the child a gift he already has. Try calling the parents before you make a purchase to suggest a particular item. They can let you know if they think the child will enjoy the item or if the child already has the item. Christmas Shopping for Grab Bags Although the Christmas season is all about giving, many people often find themselves completely stressed out about the prospect of Christmas shopping. For these individuals, one of the most stressful shopping situations involves Christmas shopping for gifts to contribute to grab bags. Sure it may be easy to purchase a great gift for your sister or your best friend but purchasing a gift for a complete stranger is considerably more difficult. Consider an office Christmas grab bag where each participant is asked to bring in a gift of an approximate dollar value. Each participant then takes turns choosing a gift from the grab bag. This can be a difficult situation because the participants likely have a variety of different interests and you may not even know all of the participants. However, there are a few strategies for making selecting a Christmas gift for this occasion fairly simple. One of the easiest ways to ease the stress of this Christmas shopping dilemma is to purchase a Christmas gift you would be happy to receive. This is not as simple as it sounds because you also have to ensure the gift you choose is something which will appeal to others. You may have a specific interest such as knitting and may be thrilled with the prospect of receiving knitting needles but it is not reasonable to expect that everyone else would be happy with this Christmas gift. When Christmas shopping for a grab bag, it is important to choose items you like but that are also practical and universally liked. This will help to ensure the item you select will be enjoyed and cherished by the grab bag participant who selects the item you purchased. Useful household gadgets are often very good ideas for this type of situation. Another way to deal with the stress of Christmas shopping for grab bag presents is to carefully consider the participants who will be selecting a Christmas gift from the grab bag. If you know most of the other people, you probably also have a good idea about the types of gifts they will like. For example, if you work in an office where most of the employees are Green Bay Packer fans, it might be a good idea to purchase an item such as a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt. Although the entire office may not be Packers fans you are putting the odds in your favor by selecting a gift which will appeal to the majority of the participants who are selecting a Christmas gift from the grab bag. Even if the person who selects the item does not enjoy the gift, they may be able to trade with another participant who will be very excited to receive the gift in question. Finally when Christmas shopping for a grab bag gift, you should consider purchasing a gift card or gift certificate as a gift. This gift will likely appeal to all of the participants in the Christmas gift grab bag and will help to ensure the lucky participant who selects your gift will be able to use the gift card to purchase something they really want or need. Still others who are Christmas shopping for a grab bag gift might consider purchasing a joke gift and including a gift receipt along with the item so the participant can exchange the item for something they would prefer. For example you might want to purchase a CD or DVD to contribute to the grab bag but selecting a CD or DVD which will be appreciated by all the participants and which the participants do not already own can be difficult. However, it might be fun to purchase a CD from an artist most people would be embarrassed to own or a DVD for a cheesy movie and include the gift receipt so the recipient can return the embarrassing CD or DVD for a CD or DVD they really like. All of the participants will get a laugh out of seeing the embarrassing gift and the participant gets to return the gift so everyone wins in this situation. Christmas Shopping for Distant Relatives It may be really simple to Christmas shop for close relatives who you see often and know very well. However, when it comes to shopping for relatives who you rarely see because they live far away, it can be significantly more difficult. There are a number of factors which contribute to the difficulty of this situation. First of all it is difficult because if you don't see the relatives often you may not have a good idea of their current interests or hobbies which would simplify the shopping process. It is also difficult to Christmas shop for distant relatives because you have to consider the cause and complexity of shipping the items to the relatives. This article will offer a few ideas for dealing with Christmas shopping for distant relatives to make this complex situation more manageable. An unfortunate reality is many people live quite far away from many of their relatives. Relatives may live thousands of miles away but they are still people you love and care about and Christmas is an excellent time to express your love for them by sending them a Christmas gift which tells them you are thinking of them. However, despite your best intentions, it is often difficult to Christmas shop for a distant relative. This is because you may not keep in close contact with the relative and may not know their current hobbies or interests. You may not even know their current clothing sizes. They may have lost or gained weight since the last time you saw them so even purchasing clothing can be difficult. Furthermore they may have preferred wearing a particular color the last time you spent some time with them but may have a new favorite color now. For all these reasons, Christmas shopping for a distant relative may be difficult but there are ways to simplify the process. One way to make it easier to Christmas shop for a distant relative is to call them to catch up before you do your shopping. Just giving them a quick phone call can provide you with a great deal of insight into their life. It is a good idea to make a call like this anyway just to keep in touch but it can also help you out a great deal with your Christmas shopping. You might learn a great deal during this phone conversation such as activities in which your relative is involved or leisure activities they enjoy. All of this information can make it easier for you to select an appropriate Christmas gift. You might also consider asking your relative what they want for Christmas. This may take away the element of surprise but it will ensure you are purchasing something your relative really wants. Another option to consider is purchasing a gift certificate. This may not be the most exciting gift but it is one that is sure to be appreciated. Another complication which stems from Christmas shopping for distant relatives is the matter of shipping the gifts. This can be difficult and expensive. Also it can be a tremendous hassle especially if you are shipping the gift close to Christmas time when the lines in the post office are historically long. One way to avoid some of these complications is to purchase gifts which are relatively small in size. This will help you to avoid excessive charges associated with shipping items which are oversized or heavy. Additionally, if you are planning a trip to visit your relatives during Christmas, you could consider purchasing items which are small enough to fit in your suitcase so you can transport the items yourself. This will not only save you the cost of shipping your Christmas gifts but will also save you the hassle of dealing with standing in long lines to ship the gifts. Gift certificates were previously mentioned as an excellent option for distant relatives if you are not sure what type of gift they will appreciate most but they are also perfect for shipping. Christmas Shopping For Close Relatives Christmas shopping for close relatives can be extremely easy in some aspects but it can also be extremely difficult in other aspects. One the one hand shopping for close relatives is simple and a great deal of fun because they are people you really care about and people you know really well. However, on the other hand shopping for close relatives can also be extremely difficult and stressful because there is the added pressure to select Christmas gifts your relatives will really cherish and enjoy. This article will discuss some of the aspects of this Christmas shopping situation to help shoppers find the perfect gift for their loved ones. Most people really look forward to Christmas shopping for their close relatives. For them this is an opportunity to purchase a gift for a loved one that he or she is sure to enjoy and appreciate. They also look forward to shopping for these close relatives because they know them well and likely have a number of great ideas for what to buy. However, all of these great ideas may turn out to be a source of stress. For example, you may immediately think of five or six great gift ideas for a particular relative. The problem you may encounter is that you think each of the gifts would be absolutely perfect and therefore have a great deal of trouble deciding which gift to select. Purchasing all of the items may not be feasible in terms of your budget and you may be disappointed that you can only select one item from the list of ideas. This can create stress because you may worry about selecting the best possible choice. Another problem which may stem from having a lot of great ideas about what to get a particular relative is you may not be able to find the exact item for which you are searching. This can be particularly stressful and frustrating especially if you know a particular item would make the perfect gift for your loved one but are simply unable to find the exact item you are seeking during any of your shopping trips. In this case you may become obsessed with finding this particular item. Not being able to find this item can be incredibly frustrating. This frustration can make the shopping a great deal less fun. It can also cause you to not see other items which would also be great gifts because you are so focused on finding this one particular item. Even when you don't have a list of gift ideas for a particular relative, you may experience a great deal of frustration during your Christmas shopping. This frustration may stem from being too concerned about finding a gift which your close relative will really cherish and appreciate. The pressure of finding a great Christmas gift for a loved one is so important because you do not want someone you care so much about to be disappointed by the Christmas gift you give them. Although this should not really be a concern because it is most likely your close relatives will all be thrilled with the gifts you select for them but it still caused stress for many people. Another problem associated with shopping for close relatives is it may be difficult to select appropriate gifts for multiple relatives without worrying that the relatives will compare the gifts. Again, this is not a likely scenario as most people would not go out of their way to discuss the gifts they were given but it is something that causes concern for many. Some individuals will feel that it is not appropriate to purchase an expensive gift for one relative but not for others. One way to deal with this is to select one item and give similar items to all of the relatives. Although the gifts will not be unique or selected for each individual it is one way to deal with the possibility of the recipients sharing information about the gifts they received. One example of how to do this is to give an item such as a sweater to each relative but to personalize the gift by selecting different styles or colors for each relative. Christmas Shopping During Big Sales Several times a year retailers offer big sales on many of their items. Some of these times include President's Day, Easter, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas. Retailers hold sale events during these times of year to encourage shoppers to get out and make some big purchases. The last minute Christmas shopping frenzy which takes place each year can be largely attributed to the sale events at Christmas time. Many shoppers specifically wait until the last minute to do their Christmas shopping because they know many items will go on sale at this time. While this is an excellent way to save money, savvy Christmas shoppers know that doing a little bit of their Christmas shopping at these other sales during the year can help to ease the stress and financial burdens often associated with last minute Christmas shopping. Christmas shopping during big sales is definitely a good idea but it is important to remember that there are some ways to really take advantage of a big sale and some ways to have your Christmas shopping deterred by a big sale. This article will discuss a few basic strategies for doing your Christmas shopping during big sales without falling into some of the common pitfalls often associated with shopping during sales. One of the biggest pitfalls associated with doing your Christmas shopping during big sales events is to end up purchasing many items you don't need and would not have purchased if they weren't on sale. This can be a problem especially if it causes you to exceed the budget you have set for Christmas shopping. This often happens when shoppers encounter a sale they think is simply too good to pass up. For some shoppers a discount of more than 50% seems very appealing and they may be tempted to buy these items just because the price has been reduced by so much but they might not really need the item. In this case the shopper may be saving 50% off of the original price because of the discount but if they wouldn't have purchased the item if it wasn't on sale they are really spending more than they would normally spend and are essentially losing money. To avoid this pitfall, it is wise to make a list of each person on your list and what you intend to purchase for them so you will not be tempted by big bargains. Another problem associated with Christmas shopping during big sales is that hesitancy often causes the shopper to miss out on an item. When you are Christmas shopping during a big sale it is important to be slightly impulsive. If you see an item you think you would like to purchase for someone on your Christmas list, you have to either buy it right away or run the risk that it will be gone if you come back later to look for the item. Retailers often put items on sale when they only have a limited quantity of the item in stock and therefore once they sell out the item is gone. So it is important to remember that when you are Christmas shopping during a big sale, you have to make decisions quickly. You need to either decide to purchase an item or completely forget about the item because it will likely be sold soon after you leave the store. Buying Clothing When Christmas Shopping Christmas shopping can be a lot of fun. Spending some time searching for the perfect gift for everyone on your gift list can be a great deal of fun. It is also rewarding when you find and purchase a gift you just know your loved one will treasure. However, there is one aspect of Christmas shopping which seems to be difficult for everyone. It seems when it comes to buying clothing while Christmas shopping, everyone seems to have at least a slight hesitation. There are just so many variables when it comes to clothes shopping that it can be difficult to shop for clothing for those on your gift list. Some of the variables which make Christmas shopping for clothing so difficult include size, color, style and material. This article will take a look at why Christmas shopping for clothing is so difficult and will attempt to offer some insight into how to purchase clothing for others. The matter of size is one thing that makes Christmas shopping for clothing so difficult. You may have a good idea about what size your friend or family members is but it can be difficult to select the correct size particularly for items such as pants, skirts, dresses or blazers. Items such as sweatshirts in which the fit does not have to be perfectly tailored are easier to shop for but even with these items you still run the risk of selecting a shirt which is too small. A sweatshirt which is too big is considered acceptable as many people where these shirts large as a style but shirts which are too small can be rather uncomfortable and will not likely be worn by the recipient. When Christmas shopping for clothing it is wise to either select casual items or ask the recipient to try on the clothing. This ruins the element of surprise but will help you to select the correct size. You may wish to discuss your intentions to purchase clothing for your friend or family member and ask them if they would prefer to receive a surprise or to participate in the selection process by trying on items before they are purchased. Selecting colors is another difficult aspect of Christmas shopping for clothing. In general if you know your friend or family members wears a particular color often, it is safe to assume they like this color and enjoy wearing this color. However, even this safe strategy can backfire on you at times. You may decide to purchase an article of clothing in this particular color because you see your friend or family members wearing the color often but you may soon find out they are tired of wearing that particular color and were hoping to receive clothing in other colors to expand their wardrobe. Again you can alleviate this problem by talking to your friend or relative and asking them what colors they would like to wear. This lets them know you are planning to purchase clothing for them for Christmas but does not give away the type of clothing or the style of the clothing. Perhaps one of the most difficult dilemmas associated with Christmas shopping for clothing is selecting a style which will be appealing to the recipient of the Christmas gift and will look good on the recipient as well. If you are purchasing a gift of clothing for a really close friend or family member you may have a good idea about the style of clothing she likes because you see the clothing she wears on a regular basis but it still can be difficult to pick out items which you know she will like and will be flattering on her in terms of style. Again one of the best ways to deal with this situation is to ask the friend or relative to come shopping with you.
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