Christmas Shopping

With the holiday season around the corner, it makes sense to beat the mall crowds and clearance sale gimmicks of big departmental stores by putting some mother wit to work…read on to find out my 4 tips for buying Christmas Gifts with none of the hassles of festive shopping!!

I love Christmas and everything that builds up to the cozy, warm and snuggle bug feeling of caroling, baking, decorations, writing out Christmas cards and making Christmas shopping lists. But, that’s where all the enthusiasm sort of fizzles out because with the marketing build up around Christmas and the shopping mania it sets off in even regular folks, the local markets seem like they are just a short call away from being tagged a mad house!

So, in order to enjoy my Christmas season more, I worked out a few tricks to finish off with festive shopping earlier in the year instead of leaving it for season sales, festive discounts and trying to sweet talk friends or relatives to accompany me for the fun hobby it should be, but somehow turns into a nightmare for many people. Especially those that dread the mall crowds, mad dash for same items by other equally flustered shoppers and the sore feet!

Yes, you guessed right! I decided to shop smart and do it online!

Tip # 1 – Search for online discount deals and buy your gifts from a web store that lets you save on shipping! I reserved the first half of my Sunday for clicking a shopper’s symphony on my laptop keys, choosing non-China free worldwide shipping items from a reputed site, called Dinodirect.com

On clicking around the site, I found to my delight there were fabulous discount offers – 50% off – and free shipping worldwide! That had me quickly cover small somethings for friends and family I haven’t been able to gift even a Christmas card to in recent years and ensure these would reach in time, be within my budget and range across so many precious and practical things, like decor accents, electronic accessories, iPad covers, stationery, garments and lots more cool Christmas gifts I’d never have thought of as traditional presents!!

Tip # 2 – Buy locally produced products and show your support for local artists while ensuring budget Christmas shopping! You don’t have to spent the entire day hunting for sales and low traffic hours at boutique shops or fancy shopping malls if you decide to shop smart and go local with your Christmas gifts. Check out NGO, charities and folk art centers besides local food craft organizations like women’s help groups or Church fetes for neat home-made Christmas gifts with a personal touch!

Tip # 3 – Choose Christmas gifts handmade with love – hands being those of a professional crafter’s and the love being yours – and shop at Etsy.com You can pick up a lot of cool and quality stuff made by crafty people who showcase their hobby crafting products, like bags, jewelry, book covers, hand made paper products, candles, soaps, woollies, cake mixes, gourmet food and even wood crafts at this hip online site. The new shops and those without a sale yet, in addition to original and funky items listed under the Editor’s pick segment usually offer good deals, so do check these out!

Tip # 4 – Donate your time to a local event, group or charity. This last truly exemplifies the spirit of Christmas giving as quality time is something that our loved ones never get enough of. If you can pay personal visits to friends, family or colleagues living in the same city and make a gift of ‘one hour specials’ for helping them with various chores, like ‘picking up groceries,’ ‘helping clean garage’ or ‘babysitting’ it would be appreciated and be something different from the routine Christmas gifting. Now, if you can go one step further and give some of your time to strangers in an old-people’s home, playschool volunteer activity, youth group or fund raisers, that would really revive the Christmas gifting spirit in a real sense.

Why not try out some of these tips and see a different feeling wrap your Christmas mood this year? I’d love to hear from you which Christmas shopping tip you liked the best!