The holidays are a time for creating memories, celebrating the joys of family and friends, enjoying delicious food, and buying thousands of dollars of gifts… (insert record scratch here)… wait, that last part isn’t right!
It seems the holidays are quickly becoming a reason to buy and this year is no exception. Large retailers have been pushing consumers to purchase holiday gifts since September due to supply chain challenges, leading some to purchase gifts often and early. I’m not sure if these challenges have worsened or improved at the time of publication since this article was written in early November. Regardless, let’s review some ideas for those of you who may have left your holiday purchasing until now.
First, the holidays are more than just buying the perfect gift for a loved one. Sure, everyone adores a beautifully wrapped package, its contents selected with love. However, no one wants their loved one going into debt for months or years to come. If you haven’t already, make sure you set a budget for your holiday spending and STICK TO IT!
Second, when building your budget make sure to include everyone: family members, friends, co-workers (ahem, your delightful presence is gift enough), your children’s teachers, caregivers, etc. Then evaluate if you can give the gift of time instead of a gift purchased with your hard earned money. Be creative and sincere, and don’t give a gift of time if you’re not really interested in spending time with that person.
Third, gift cards are great budget-friendly gift options. Crafting a well written note to accompany these often maligned gifts can make one mean just as much as that fancy coffee mug with cat cartoons printed all over it that’s sitting in your Amazon cart (hit “delete” don’t “save for later”).
Fourth, try shopping locally. There are some amazing artisans, and organizations in your area with an abundance of beautiful gift options. While I appreciate the speed and convenience of shopping on my phone with large retailers, I truly enjoy selecting unique presents from a local vendor. You can also check out websites like Etsy (just be sure to check on shipping costs before you buy!).
Fifth, if you’ve already completed your shopping for the season and are currently wondering how to dig out from under the mountain of brown cardboard boxes and shopping bags (and are avoiding looking at your credit card bill), have no fear. You can still return unwrapped and unused gifts if necessary. If that’s not an option, sit down with a plate of holiday cookies or your fav snack, and take a good hard look at what you spent. Now is a good time to create a plan to pay off any accumulated holiday debt, and evaluate what your budget should be for next year.
At the end of the day, make sure you spend time with those you love this holiday season – the memories you’ll create with them are more important than any gift you can purchase!
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