Christmas Shopping: the Dos and Don’ts

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Christmas is closer than you think! You’ve got less than 3 weeks to buy all your gifts (unless you’re Armenian, in which case you can chill for a while and re-read this article in a couple of weeks.) Christmas shopping can be fun but it can also be dreadful, with too many people all going after the same things, vicious and stressed-out shoppers, frustrated sales attendants, and other obstacles standing in the way of a happy holiday experience. Never fear, here are a few tips for improving your Christmas shopping:

Don’t put it off till the last minute. We’re all busy at this time of year, many of us preparing-for and entertaining holiday visitors, so it’s tempting to put things off and say, “I’ll just go shopping tomorrow.” But the closer you get to Christmas, the less options you’ll have to chose from and the more stress you’ll have to endure with all your fellow procrastinators.

Do make a plan. It’s really helpful to get organized early on and jot down a list of potential presents you want to buy for each of your loved ones. If you already know exactly what to get them, all the better. When you make a list, it’s easier to stay on track and waste less time. Get yourself to the stores you need, grab what you need, and get out. It’s quick and efficient.

Don’t push and shove at the store. DON’T BE THAT PERSON. EVERYONE HATES THAT PERSON!! We’re all trying to do the same thing, and we’re all frustrated sometimes. Just don’t push!

Do be a smart shopper. Look for sales, deals, 2 for ones, buy one get one frees, etc. Compare prices at different stores before you buy, and final settle on the best option. This is another reason getting organized helps.

Don’t forget about exchange and return. Maybe you’re not sure what to buy and you want to make sure the person can return or exchange the gift for something they like better. In that case it’s better to buy from bigger stores that give the gift-receiver more options to chose from. Make sure you also calculate how long they’ve got to exchange the gift so you don’t buy it too early too. Also, consider just giving a gift card.

Do stop and look at the decorations. They’re pretty and they’re all around you. It’s like they say, you should stop and smell the flowers. Almost the same thing. Enjoy the whole experience and the beauty around you.

Don’t forget about your budget. Set a budget for how much you want to spend on each gift, and stick to it. It’s nice to be generous and buy grand presents for the people you love, but it’s also nice to be able to eat and pay the bills.

Do give back. It’s the Christmas season, the giving season, and there are many people in our country who don’t have much at all. Some charities sell items and hold sales that benefit the poor and destitute, so try as much as you can to buy from them and support their causes. Spare a thought, some change, or some clothes you don’t wear anymore. It’s a beautiful gesture in the true spirit of Christmas.

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