The Holiday Shopping Experience - Rewarding or Traumatic?

by : Lee-Anne Robert

Picture this scenario! It’s December 24th, the day of Christmas Eve. On this day you should be relaxing, enjoying time with family and thinking of all the precious memories you have created throughout the year.

No, wait! It’s the last day of shopping before Christmas and you haven’t even started to do your gift shopping.

You get into your car and fight traffic all the way to the local mall, only to spend an hour trying to find a parking spot. That is if you find one at all. You enter the mall in search of the perfect gifts and there is a stampede of people. Looks like everyone else is doing last minute shopping too!

You dodge the nudging elbows and stomping feet of the crowds. You’re starting to feel claustrophobic, your stress level is starting to increase and you haven’t even begun shopping yet!

Sound familiar? To top it all off, you browse through the stores only to find that meager offerings remain. The shelves are practically empty. What happens then? You spend too much money on something that your gift recipient neither needs or wants. Their gift wasn’t chosen for was chosen out of desperation.

Once again, you remind yourself that you will prepare far in advance for Christmas next year. The next Holiday Season arrives and you repeat the same traumatic shopping experience.

How many of us have waited until the very last moment to buy a gift for a loved one, friend or business associate? There is only three months left until Christmas and those days will go quickly.

Christmas is one of the most stressful events of the year. The expense of buying gifts and the pressure of last minute shopping can all take the joy out of the most joyful time of year.

Here are some tips to take the stress out of Holiday shopping this year:

1) Make a list of the people you will be buying a gift for before you go shopping. If you have a large family or friends to buy gifts for, it can get expensive. In our family, we have made the decision to buy only for the children. Another way to reduce costs is to have everyone draw a name out of a hat and buy a present only for that person.

2) Think of gift ideas for the people on your list and write them down. What are their hobbies and interests? What are their needs and wants? If you cannot come up with anything, ask the person directly for ideas. This will save you time wandering aimlessly in the mall in search of a gift and you will give a gift that your gift recipient really wants and will appreciate.

3) Buy a few extra gifts, for instance chocolates, so that you will be prepared just in case you forgot somebody or an unexpected guest arrives bearing gifts.

4) If possible, start your Holiday shopping a month or two before Christmas. It is never to early to prepare!

5) Don’t forget about online shopping! Buy your gifts over the internet. You can find most gifts online, shop at your own convenience and you won’t have to step foot in a mall.

If you follow these tips, you are on your way to a rewarding shopping experience and a less stressful Holiday Season.

We all must remember that Christmas is a joyful time of year. It’s not about the gift you give or receive but it is about cherishing the special people in your life and spending time with them. Create new traditions and memories that will be with you for a lifetime.