It’s the 24th of December, you are on your way to the office in the morning, there is no one on the road, you ask yourself why didn’t you take the day off like everyone else, then you remember that you need to submit your quarterly report. You ask yourself why did you keep it till last minute. As you contemplate the idea of last minute things that you always do, you remember the gifts of aunt Sue, uncle Simon, grandma Suzan, grandpa Sam… You start thinking what you can get them in the afternoon, then you remember several other gifts you need to buy.
you plan on leaving work early to buy gifts, then you end up staying late in the office. As soon as you at out on the streets, the roads are blocked. Santa Close is in the corner of every shop, why is he this happy! Seriously! Honk! Honk! The guy next to you remind you to move forward. You get so aggravated by seeing people in their cars happy with their Christmas hats! Driving slowly as they go live on Instagram. Don’t they know that you are late in buying your gifts and that you need to go home and shower and be by grandma’s house at 7pm. Why did you even agree to take Aunt Sue on your way, now you cannot even be late. Two more hours and it’s the same charade, you are very late, you pass by the local supermarket to buy chocolate and wine as gifts, you barely make it to the counter before they close. You go into your car, the parking is empty, your car doesn’t turn on… Damn, you just remembered that you should have fueled it as soon as you left work.
Then you ask yourself, what did you do wrong!
I know this is many people’s nightmare this holiday season. If you do not want this scenario to happen with you this holiday season, here’s how to buy your gifts!
Here are your 9 steps for buying your Christmas gifts this holiday season:
1. Create an Excel sheet or a list where you can log all your planning: start by creating an excel sheet if you like to plan digitally, or get a nice piece paper (and pen for sure) where you will add all your details in. This paper of digital file should not be lost until the holidays are over. I recommend that you start this exercise beginning November or even before.
2. Decide on your total budget: gifts can be very expensive and you need to set a specific budget aside. Decide on your budget early on before December so you can start saving up if needed. Your budget needs to reflect your own ability to pay and it should not be a burden for you and you definitely should not become indebted due to your Christmas gifts!
3. Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for: write down the names of the people you would like to buy gifts for during the holidays. Add names of your family members, colleagues at work, etc. Since you already have a specific budget that you already started saving up for, decide how much you plan on paying for each person’s gift. So on your list, you now have Name and Budget.
4. Decide what gifts to buy for each person: depending on how close each person is and depending on your budget, and a lot of other variables, decide what you would like to buy for this person. Remember that Christmas gifts are a symbol of the gifts baby Jesus received from the wise men when he was born and they are just a symbol! You should not go overboard with your gifts. When you think of the gift idea, make sure that it’s something meaningful for the person. Think of the activities that this person exercises, his/her hobbies, etc. Now you also have “Gift Idea” on your list.
5. Decide where you can buy each gift: For me, this is the most important step of all, since it will help me plan my shopping visits since I will know where each gift should be bought from. I recommend that you have more than one location/shop on your list just in case you visit one shop and don’t find what you were looking for. Now you have “Store/Location” in your excel. At this stage, I recommend that you sort your gifts by location so you can plan your visits next. Remember to shop locally and support small business and not big malls and stores.
6. Plan your visit: if you have four or five locations (or even more) to go and buy gifts from, start by scheduling these into your calendar early in December, or preferably in November. Keep in mind that you might not find what you want from a specific store and you might end up using plan B! So add your plan B (locations 2 and 3) to your visit plans. When you plan your visits and add them to your calendar, you would have blocked specific time periods for your shopping and it will not be a last minute thing.
7. Buy your gifts: Keep a Christmas hat in your car in case one of your visits ends up one day after work, so you can wear it on your Christmas Shopping. I personally recommend that you team up with some of your friends or family so you can all go shopping together and enjoy the holiday cheers. Oh and please don’t forget to play “Last Christmas” on the radio on your way. Speaking of this song, I am sure that you have never watched the official video of this song by Wham! Watch it below and let me know what you think.
8. Wrap your gifts: Do not keep your gifts in the boring store packages or bags. Remember that no matter what your gift is, the packaging and the surprise element is what matters. It conveys the time and effort that you put into the gift and into surprising the person you are gifting.
9. Enjoy the sheer on people’s faces when opening your gifts and remember baby Jesus, the reason behind this season.