October is here. Uh oh! Christmas shopping is near.

If you’re the type of person who likes to get a jump on your Christmas shopping, you’ve probably already started and have gifts hidden away. My friend’s mom starts her shopping right after the first of the year. She is usually done by July!

I don’t start thinking about it until at least November. And I don’t start taking action until after December 1st. Every year I tell myself I’ll get started early so I can keep my eye out for bargains. I have succeeded in doing that some years, but in other years I am scrambling to find the gifts I want because too many times the items are out of stock. Of course, they’re always seasonal items and the store won’t be getting any more in. Panic and anxiety then rushes through every part of my body. Can anyone relate?

For all the procrastinators and late starters out there, I’m sending out this gentle reminder to start thinking about Christmas a little earlier than usual. You can get a jump on your gift buying and let others be the ones to find the shelf empty for a change. I don’t mean for that to sound cruel but, hey, it shouldn’t have to be you every year getting the short end of the stick.

Top 3 Tips for Stress-Free Gift Buying

  1. Start NOW trying to find out what your loved ones really want. Waiting until the last minute to think about what you want to get someone is just asking for trouble. Drop hints, ask subtle questions, go shopping and watch what makes their eyes light up or draws their attention. You’ll probably get plenty ideas to work with before Christmas shopping kicks into high gear.
  2.  Actually LISTEN to your loved ones when they talk and complain. This might seem like a strange tip but if you have a short attention span or Attention Deficit Disorder (I think I suffer from this a lot!), then you’ll want to take this tip to heart. Everyone shares likes, dislikes, dreams, struggles, etc., in conversation and even while griping. For example, a friend might mention she enjoys going out to see a movie or likes a particular restaurant but money’s been tight lately. A gift card to the theater or that restaurant would be perfect. A spouse who is complaining about how long it takes to prepare meals might mention how a certain appliance could cut meal prep time in half if only he/she had it. A spouse complaining about not being able to keep up with the house might enjoy a few months of maid service. But don’t always think in terms of practical gift giving. Something personal such as jewelry and clothing are always nice, as are items that help them further their dreams, goals or hobbies. Just listen and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.
  3. Make a list of your ideas and start looking for sales right away. Sales have changed. Prices are often times lower before or after Black Friday rather than on Black Friday itself. If you start pricing items early, you’ll know when you’ve come across a bargain. And wouldn’t that be a great feeling? Be sure to check the Internet for pricing also. If you find an item on the Internet cheaper than a local store, try asking at the store if they’ll match the Internet price. (You’ll need a print out of the item and price with the current day’s date. Items usually need to be an exact match.) Then purchase the item!! Enjoy buying when the shelves are stocked, the stores aren’t crazy busy and the lines are not a block long.

For the person who has everything, I’m putting in a plug for my services as a perfect gift idea. Family photos are your story. And scanning your photos to disc is saving your family history and story forever. Who doesn’t enjoy viewing photos of themselves, their loved ones and their ancestors? A CD/DVD takes up very little space, is portable and can be enjoyed over and over for years to come. So think about giving the gift of laughter, memories and love! Every time the photos are viewed they’ll think of the person that gave it to them. That person can be YOU. Check out the Christmas in October specials! And for a perfect stocking stuffer for people of all ages, check out this nifty little item, the Picture Keeper.

Family photos on DVD
Family photos on DVD beautifully gift-wrapped
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