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Christmas Shopping

Nov 6, 2007
Short Cuts to Holiday Shopping

Avoid the crowds and avoid leaving your shopping to the last couple of weeks. The earlier you shop in the season, and the less you shop during peak shopping times, the less stressful it will be for you and the faster you can shop. Peak shopping times are weekends, evenings, and later in the week. Thanksgiving Day weekend, and the last Saturday before Christmas are the busiest shopping days of the year. Better times to shop are to be there when the store opens, and if you can, during a weekday.

Consider one type of gift for your gift list. Each year you can pick a theme that will suit most people on your list. One year you might give bookstore items, another year you might get winter hats and scarves and mittens, and another year you might give DVDs. Or you could give chocolate or toiletries or jewelry.

If you tend to get stuck deciding what to get everyone, try asking! You can either ask directly or develop the art of subtle inquiry. For instance, you can ask a teenager what they are listening to and if there are any new releases. Earlier in the year people will often mention in passing things that they wish for without realizing it. Write these things down so you don't forget. Chances are good that even six months later they will not have gotten it yet for themselves.

For less fuss gift wrapping, you can use stores that offer gift wrapping services. Another option is to purchase a range of gift bags and tissue paper (to cover the tops).

Your biggest aid in avoiding the stress of holiday shopping is keeping a relaxed attitude. Remember that not getting the perfect gift is not the end of the world. You can make shopping fun by doing it with someone and planning lunch.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Every household has its own traditions, of course, but in our house growing up we were allowed to go into our stockings before our parents got up. The idea behind this, I'm sure, was to allow mommy and daddy to sleep in past four a.m., which is of course when we would have woken them up if we'd had to wait until they were up to enjoy any Christmas! With this in mind, gifts in our stockings were intended to occupy us until everyone had slept in as long as they wished and we could get on with the business of presents. Here are some ideas for stuffing stockings for all you Santa's helpers out there.

For Children:

Small puzzles, action figures, miniature cars, baseball cards, Legos, modeling clay, paper dolls, balsa wood airplane kits, coloring books, puzzle books, activity books, comic books, jewelry or beads and string to make their own necklace, bubble solution, doll clothes, educational cards, miniature dolls, small electronic games, Pez dispenser, travel sized games of chess or checkers, card games, stickers, temporary tatoos, toy animals, coins, jump rope.

For Adults:

Key chain, gloves, safety whistle, Christmas ornament, rubber stamp and pad, postage stamps, votive candles, lip balm, music cd, calendar, address book, magazine, crossword puzzle book, Sudoku, travel size toiletries, metalic markers or calligraphy pen, pocket sized books, flash drive, paperback novel, calculator, sticky notes, 100 calorie snack packages, pedometer, tire gauge, garlic press or kitchen gadget, film, batteries, tea packets or coffee sample, fancy hot chocolate packet, art supplies, utility knife, spa items, nail trimming set, small desk items, mini kits from Running Press, gourmet food items, road maps, phone card, dvd, mug or travel mug, watch or watchband, ipod case, pocket magnifier, book mark, sunglasses, screwdriver/rachet all in one tool, tickets, small flashlight, pocket knife, harmonica, cell phone accessories.

For All:

An orange or other fruit, dried fruit, nuts, jerky, candy, candy bars, candy canes, tall pretzels.
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