December 16, 2010, 6:00 am

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Tips To Prevent Stress

by: MD    Category: Other Financial Articles
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Last Minute Christmas Shopping

Welcome. First I just wanted to say congrats on finding the time to keep up with your favorite personal finance blogs during this holiday season! It seems like all of the hype for holiday shopping is in full force. As you try to plan in all of your holiday parties, searching for the perfect gifts, and trying to find the most delicious Christmas dinner recipe, I wanted to share some ideas for last minute holiday shopping:

Keep it simple.

I find that we all tend to worry too much about finding the “perfect gift.” Does such a thing even exist? We need to get back to the basics when it comes to the holiday season. It should be about spending time with good company, while eating delicious food. Not about getting mad at strangers for walking too slowly in the mall.

Don’t go shopping after work!

If you go shopping at your local mall after work in the evening, your stress level will hit an all time high. Between trying to find parking, waiting in long lines, and trying to get around a crowded mall, one can easily lose their mind. Maybe you can squeeze in a quick pop in to the mall on your lunch break? Maybe you can send a close friend to go shopping during the day for you? There are many options that are more wiser than shopping in the evening. Don’t get yourself stuck in mall traffic after a long day of work, you might want to strangle someone.

On a similar point, you also don’t want to shop when you’re tired because your mind isn’t as sharp. When you’re alert your senses are up and you think about every decision. Do you ever notice that when you’re tired you just don’t put much effort into your choices? This mental fatigue could cause you to spend too much money or to burn out during a time of the year where you should be feeling great.

Just get gift cards.

This is simple enough. If you can’t find the right gift, find the right store at least. Gift cards are often viewed as being “not thoughtful” but who really cares? If a friend judges you for your gift than they’re not much of a friend in the first place.

Stick to your budget.

Just because you slacked off on shopping for gifts it doesn’t mean that your wallet should suffer. Last minute holiday shopping is traditionally the best excuse to bust out the credit card so that you can spend a little extra money. You might feel good about the purchase now, but you might lose some of your hair when your credit card bill comes in the mail in January. Sticking to your budget is always important, but it should be even more important during this time of the year where over-spending seems like the norm.

Wait until after Christmas.

Forget about last minute Christmas shopping, it’s all about the post-Christmas deal. I find that most stores offer great discounts for the entire week after Christmas Day. You can observe what type of gifts everyone else has purchased and wait until after the holidays to finish off your shopping list. You can save some money and you won’t have to worry about any repetitive gifts.

Don’t panic.

So what if you don’t get everyone a gift? You’ll never be able to please everyone. So what if you can’t find parking? You can park a little further and get some exercise. So what if you can’t make it to every holiday part that you’re invited to? Make it to the ones that you enjoy the company the most. You get the point. The holiday season should not be about constant panic. Relax and enjoy yourself.

For those of you that are done with your holiday shopping you can sit back and relax in the evening while everyone else scrambles around trying to not get into an accident. I wish you all of the best as you try to survive the next week or so!

(photo credit: lendog64)

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Comments

I agree with ALL these points. I hate going shopping after work, because it’s just a nightmare. Normally I’d get up really early on a Saturday and try to do it then, but even that doesn’t work during this season. That’s why I’m relying a lot more on Amazon.com right now, since all the presents can be shipped directly to you.

Got many gifts left to buy so I will try to keep in mind those tips. The hardest one is always the hubby one. I try to find him the perfect gift every year and end up shopping for it last minute because no idea of mine seemed to be perfect enough… He is such a simple person, I should not care about it that much.

I like the gift card idea- I think gift cards can be thoughtful.

I read in the paper the other day that 55% of people would rather receive gift cards.

I got a gift card along with a candle and I was a happy camper!

Great tips!

I agree with the first point. Keep it simple. This is where we differ in my family. My wife stresses over getting the perfect gifts, but I have seen enough Christmases where wrapping paper is flying through the room on Christmas morning excitement and then that perfect gift is sitting on a shelf a month later. It is the thought that counts, right?

Great ideas. I’d rather spend my emotional and physical energy on other activities that will become real gifts versus something that is temporary at best.

Great ideas. I’d rather spend my emotional and physical energy on other activities that will become real gifts versus something that is temporary at best.