I am not ashamed to admit that I have bought about half of my Christmas gifts.
My Christmas cards were done in the last week of November, as was my decorating.
Why do I wait so long to finish my shopping? Isn’t it stressful??
A couple of reasons. Number one, budget. I like to space out the gifts. I don’t have the foresight or motivation to buy Christmas gifts in July, so this works best for me. Plus, kids’ wish lists change, so I have to wait for the latest requests.
If you are lucky enough to not stress over your budget during the holidays, God bless you. Also, gift it forward (backward?) at the Starbucks drive thru.
Number two, I like to see what deals spring up over the month of December. Have you ever waited all year til that Vitamix or Cricut or whatever was at a deep discount? I have not, but I always thought that would be a smart idea.
So, if you’re like me, and need some last-minute inspiration… here’s my best tips:
1. Get Amazon Prime. Like, now. Yes, it costs $79 per year, but you can get it free for three months if you are a mom. Even if you’re not, it’s totally worth it. We don’t have cable, so we can watch rent movies, watch free movies and tv shows (no commercials) via our Roku & the Amazon Prime app. And the free shipping! I refuse to buy anything on Amazon that doesn’t have Prime shipping. Items are dropped off at my house within two, and sometimes even one, days– for free! Nice. And have you seen this? Crazy.
2. Think homemade. Have any relatives, maybe not in your immediate family… you want to get them something, but not a full-fledged present? Homemade stuff is much appreciated. It might be too late for this, but you can easily put together a cookie jar, some Christmas treats, or candles for a relatively low cost. Not really homemade, but a bottle of wine (or whatever they drink) and a bar of chocolate— maybe a tin of popcorn?– is always enjoyed. They can put it out for guests or enjoy it themselves. One of my favorite parts of the holidays is making a feast out of Christmas treats and enjoying it with Sean after the day’s festivities. And crappy late night tv is a must, but I digress…
3. Check flash/daily deals sites & coupon sites. As far as flash deals, just make sure that you’ll get your goodies in time. Some sites wait until they have a certain number of orders before they start shipping out the items. Amazon is a great site to check, they have flash deals all December, and you know exactly when it will be shipped (again, Prime is nice for quick shipping). I’ve had good luck with Groopdealz and Jane.com getting my items to me in a timely manner. Oftentimes, those two sites will list if the item will be delivered in time for the holidays. Obviously, if you travel this time of year, you need an extra cushion of time.
The coupon/sales sites I use most this time of year are Hip2Save and Raining Hot Coupons. They both consistently have deals that fit my present search.
4. If all else fails… go the gift card route. I’ve heard that these can be considered a lazy gift. Like, involves no imagination, impersonal, etc. etc. Well let me tell you, none of these people are in my family. Everybody in my family has gift cards on their wish list. How to get them quickly and easily?
In my part of the country (Illinois), the biggest selection is found at Walgreens or CVS. I’ve also heard that you can get them at Sam’s Club & Costco, though I’m not positive. And for my third, and final plug, for Amazon, they have a ton of gift card options on there as well. Head to the dollar store for a pack of cute and festive gift card boxes to gift them.
So those are my plans for the coming weeks! Do you have a good system for staying on top of your budget during the holiday season. I wish I had this much self-discipline during the year.
Some of the links above are affiliate links. All opinions are my own and all tips listed are based on my gift-buying experiences.