It is true that Christmas time is probably the most wonderful time of the year. We love this season for so many reasons. Beginning with the thankfulness and giving that comes along with the Thanksgiving Holiday, extending throughout the month of December and into the beginning of the New Year, there seems to be a special excitement that over takes us as we love, enjoy, dine, serve, give and receive.
One favorite stylish and unique to the season part of the many traditions involves shopping for and giving to other people. Etiquette is all about doing things well and interacting with others in such a way that they are better and happier because you did. As you prepare to shop til you drop, here are some great shopping etiquette tips on where and how to shop smart.
- Plan Ahead and you will go a long way toward saving big. Beginning as early as October, many stores, in an attempt to get the jump on the Black Friday sales, will begin offering fantastic one-day or weekend sales. In addition, if you are the kind that can keep a secret, it is wise to shop throughout the year. Many savvy shoppers even shop for the next year's presents on the day after Christmas. Stores are anxious to clear their shelves of overstock so this is a great option if you have gift ideas in mind that early.
- Pay It Smart. Even if you are not having any financial difficulties and you are secure in your employment, it is wise not to go into debt buying gifts. Set a budget and stick to it. This is another reason to start your shopping early. Choose items that you can either afford to pay for in cash or lay-a-way. Many stores such as ToysRUs and Walmart, which carry children's items such as toys and electronics, offer lay-a-way plans that don't require you to pay the final balance until right before the Christmas holiday.
- Be Unique Gift giving and receiving can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be that way. Use your creativity to find unique ways to surprise the recipients on your list. For instance, think outside the box. Let's say you only have $20 to spend on your cousin,Homer. You happen to know that he loves to ski. Let's say you know how to knit and you know that a cashmere sweater is out of your price range. Buy some very nice cashmere yarn and knit him a nice sweater. You will have to plan ahead, but who wouldn't love a well made, cashmere sweater for their next ski trip?
- Relative Expense When you are shopping for an adult you know well, this is a great opportunity to be creative and splurge. Here's what I mean. If you know that your aunt loves to journal then think about what you can buy that is really expensive for what it is, but still within your budget. Those who journal are always in need of a new journal or a nice pen. If your budget for the gift is $25, then find an expensive journal or pen for that amount. Your normal journal might cost $5-8, but if you buy one for $25 it will probably be a very nice and expensive one that she probably wouldn't purchase for herself.
- Extraordinary Buys As you make out your shopping list, consider buying gifts that are unique and out of the ordinary. Something that you know your recipient will really appreciate and something that he or she probably would never buy for themselves even if they liked it. Here is an example, last year for Christmas my aunt gave me a card. When I opened I read that she had purchased some animals in my family's name as a donation to a family in a Third World country. I was very blessed to receive such a gift. I had looked at those particular advertisements many times but had never purchased one. Think of something extraordinary and really surprise someone this year.
- Stick to the List Children are very specific about what they want. If the children on your list have named a particular item, you will do well to stick to the list. As a parent, I have had to learn this lesson the hard way. It is very easy to go to the toy store and see a million things that little Colton is going to love, only to find out that he will only play with the one $5 dollar battery operated radio that he saw and fell in love with. If you are buying for nieces and nephews and grandchildren, heed this advice. They usually really do know what they want.
I hope that you have as much fun shopping for loved ones this year as I am planning to have. This truly is a wonderful time of the year. For more ideas on what to buy and where check out 10 Must Have Style On The Go Items.