Christmas Shopping: Do It Effectively and Save Money

 


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It's that time of year again when we begin making our Christmas shopping lists. Although, if you're like my mother, your list would have been made since last Christmas and have half your presents bought. If you're anything like me though, you will wait until Christmas Eve and desperately grab anything you can find at the 24-hour convenience store.

To avoid my desperate situation without being too overeager, write a list of all potential gift recipients and what you may want to give them. Then, cross off all the people that could get a Christimas/Holiday card instead. For example, teachers, distant relatives, etc. If you have friends or relatives on your list that have small children, you can also cross them off your list as well. Unless you are really close to one another, it is acceptable to only give the children a present.

Not only do many people add too many people to their Christmas lists, they also tend to overspend on gifts. Last minute shopping usually leads to spending too much because you are usually desperate to grab at anything, whatever the expense.

Once you have your list and budget, let the shopping commence!Set aside specific days and time dedicated to Christmas shopping. During this time, don't get sidetracked and do a little shopping for yourself- tempting, but self-defeating. You will be glad that you stuck to your budget come January when the credit card bills begin rolling in.

With nearly every store and brand online, you won't even have to leave your house. However, because there are so many websites often selling the same items, competition is tough and this means sales galore for the consumer. If you don't want to hunt for the sale, then make a beeline for eBay where you can get brand new or hard-to-find items at a reasonable price.

The complaint I hear most about eBay is that people don't know where to start. Well, this is where your list and budget will come in handy. You can narrow your search by entering the name brand, price ranges, and even if you want the item as a gift. It is most helpful when you have the name of the product as you will eliminate having to sift through irrelevant items. Many sellers will also guarantee Christmas delivery.

For some, shopping on eBay may be comparable to braving the outlet malls. So, for those cautious souls, try going to the websites of the stores you know. But, again, try to focus your search when shopping.

When buying gifts for young children, there are a myriad of options. Children are often intrigued by the simplest of things. Have you ever seen a child unwrap his present only to ignore the toy and play with the big box instead?

A gift proven to always please is a toy railroad set for the little boys. There is a “Thomas the Train Ultimate Set" for under $100 on Amazon.com. The girls would love the collectible Juicy Couture Barbie set. This too is under $100 and comes with two dolls, the co-founders of Juicy Couture, and numerous accessories.

For slightly older children, video games are the winning ticket. Some of the hottest games out there now are Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire, Karaoke Revolution 4, and Mario Party 7 for the gamecube. But if your conscious bothers you about giving them another mind-numbing game, there are educational video games on the market as well. Leapster has a myriad of titles that will keep the children engaged, without letting on that they're learning at the same time.

Mom's, sisters, and girlfriends are usually the easiest gifts to buy. Personally, I always enjoy a trinket that comes in a pretty egg-robin blue Tiffany's box. Jewelry always brings a smile to a woman's face, but boyfriends, husbands, I am not talking about costume jewelry. Think bling-bling, fellas! If you are low on cash though, which always happens aroung the holidays, get creative. Clothes are nice and safe, but why not add something else? Perhaps, her favorite book or handwritten letter, something personal to show how much you care.

On the other hand, father's, brothers, and boyfriends tend to dismiss the romantic, cheesy gifts. Guys want electronics, gadgets and even video games. Their dream gift would probably be a Ferrari parked outside with a big red bow on top. Best Buy always has the latest digital cameras and cell phones. Kodak has released the V550 Digital Camera that has video capabilities for stills and audio capture.

Last, but not least, don't forget your furry friends during the holidays. Your pets are always there for you and demand so little in return. To show your appreciation, get them new toys, a bed, or maybe their favorite treat.

Anyway you do it, shopping for the perfect gift may seem daunting at first, but it should be a time for fun as well. Remember that the perfect gift is one that you put thought into. With online shopping, you can shop from the comforts of your hope which may have many benefits. However, sometimes the hustle and bustle is what you need to get into the Christmas Spirit!

Stacy Chin is a freelance writer and currently working on her first novel. Feel free to use any of the articles, but please contact Stacy Chin at chinstacy@hotmail.com to inform her where it will be published.

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