Thursday, May 28, 2015

Holiday Shopping During Summer

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Call me crazy if you wish - I already started planning for Christmas. It all started because I had a really slow day at work, and for some reason, I had a strong desire to shop. I go shopping maybe a couple times a month, but that’s just window shopping. I typically only buy myself new clothes/shoes a couple of times a year. I’m trying to work on this minimalist lifestyle.  

I obviously couldn’t leave my office to head to the mall, so I was stuck to online shopping at one of my favorite websites, Etsy. I didn’t want to buy myself anything because 1- I have no room for anything in my apartment and 2- trying to be minimalist here. I thought about birthdays, anniversaries, father’s day – anything to give me an excuse to shop online and possibly buy something.

Then it hit me, what a great time it is to shop for Christmas!

Last year I went a little nutso and created an Excel spreadsheet with everyone’s names, what I purchased for them, what I paid for their gift(s), and then whether it was already wrapped or not. At the end of the spreadsheet, I had the total for all the gifts and even an average price per person.  I created the Excel because I was shopping months in advance, and I didn’t want to forget that I already purchased a gift for someone and then buy them something else. Not that they would complain about getting two+ gifts, but I was working on a budget. My wallet wouldn’t enjoy it.

I created the same Excel spreadsheet last week before I started hunting for gifts on Etsy. I came up with great ideas for about half of the people on my list! I haven’t actually purchased anything yet though. I think I’m going to wait until July or August to start buying them.

There are a few downsides to shopping early for Christmas:

  1. Storage. If you live in a small place with only one closet (seriously, we have one closet – we don’t even have a pantry), then you run out of storage very quickly. 
  2. Memory Loss. You may buy something and then completely forget about it, which is why I suggest making a detailed list. 
  3. Holiday Blues. There’s something fun about holiday shopping near Christmas, when all the stores are decorated and everyone else is hurriedly shopping around for gifts. When you get your shopping done months in advance, you have no reason to go to the mall or buy anything during the holiday shopping rush. 

Last year was my first year of early shopping, and I have to say it made the holidays especially relaxing because:

  1. No stress. I didn’t have to worry about finding a last minute gift or finding a parking spot at the crowded mall. 
  2. Budget Friendly. Buying gifts throughout the months leading to Christmas really helped me budget. I didn’t have to worry about having a large credit card bill during the holiday because my gifts were purchased (and paid for) over a few months – not just on one credit card payment. 
  3. Time. Not only do you have the time to really think about the perfect gift for someone, but you also have the time to have that perfect gift custom made or delivered if you buy it online. You don’t have to worry about shipping times or if things will get lost in the crazy winter storms. 
  4. Christmas Spirit. When you don’t have to focus on rushing around the malls to buy presents, you really get to focus on what the holiday really means and you really get to enjoy and relax on your holiday time away from work. 

Last year it was hard for me not to buy things during the holiday season when everyone else was talking about buying presents and going to the mall about every day. I crazily felt the urge to buy things too – even though I already purchased gifts for everyone on my list. To fight this, I waited to buy my wrapping supplies until the holiday season officially started.  I couldn’t imagine wrapping the gifts months in advance too! I have to do something holiday-ish during the season or else it wouldn’t really feel like the holiday, would it?

When do you usually shop for gifts?

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