Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ten smart holiday shopping and gifting tips

I am a member of twittermoms and they have teamed up with Office Depot and asked me to write about my top ten smart holiday shopping and gifting tips. I like to think that I am a smart and thoughtful gifter so I was quick to step up and take this challenge.

I am a person of method. I like to have a plan and a method so that I may succeed regardless of the task at hand. I always look at the holidays as a challenge. I am challenged to stay on budget and I need to please others at the same time.

Over the years I have come up with a holiday shopping and gifting method that I am pleased to be able to share with you.

My top 10 smart holiday shopping and gifting tips are:

1. Create a budget. You must know how much you can afford to spend on gifts. This is a big picture, fianancial budget. This is numbers only and no names. During the holidays we must be honest with ourselves and not over spend. I like to create my big picture budget with out names being attached. This makes it a business only and not personal decision.

2. Who's been nice and deserves a gift? This is the list that you can put names on. Be sure to include teachers and co workers. You don't want to leave anyone off of this list. Even if you just think you might need to get a gift for someone then put them on the list.

3. Break it down now! This is the list that you can match names with dollars. You can take your total dollar amount from your budget and split it equally amoung the names or you can divide it up any way that you wish. You may spend under the amount that you have listed for each person but be sure not to go over your limit. If you go over your limit then you need to deduct that amount from someone elses total and that's not fun!

4. Brain storm for gift ideas: By the persons name and dollar amount, you may wish to add a few items that you think that the person may like. These items can be specific or just a general idea of what you think they would want.

5. When you call or email someone to invite them over the holiday, ask them what would they like this year. It's always nice to get something that you can use and enjoy. The worst gift is a gift that sits unused, even if it was a great buy!

6. Look at sale adds: Once you have your names, dollars and gift ideas then it's time to hit the sales! The Sunday newspaper will have tons of adds and you should be able to find them online also.

7. Be creative! Home made gifts and baked goods make a nice and personal gift. I love baking and it's nice to share them with others. Plus who doesn't love getting a nice homemade goodie to snack on?

8. Shop early! Don't wait until the last minute to run out and get your gifts. I have done that before and by the end of December, the selection isn't so good and the crowds get worse too.

9. Take a break. While you are out shopping, remember to stop and take a coffee break. It's too easy to get caught up in the moment and you will wear out before the task has been completed. During your break you might relook at your shopping list and mark off what you have bought already. This will give your feet a chance to rest and your brain can think a little also.

10. Enjoy your time. Remember the real reason for the season! Take time to enjoy your friends and family. Make memories that will last a lifetime. Those memories will last a lot longer than the gifts exchanged.

Did you know that Office Depot is a one-stop shop that can help cover all of your holiday shopping and gifting needs? Did you also know that you can get gifts for everyone from toddlers to grandparents in one easy stop at Office Depot? Office Depot even carries all your gift wrapping essentials too. How cool is that!

Do you have any smart holiday shopping and gifting tips that you would like to share with me? I would love to hear them.

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Office Depot blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 Office Depot gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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