It’s less than two weeks to Christmas. I finished shopping for gifts this week, which I did in less than four hours [only for 41 persons : )].
If you’re busy and time pressed, you can accomplish this yearly holiday chore by doing what I did:
- Make a list. If you have a ready list, you’re more than 50% finish of your task. You just can’t go around and think of your loved ones at random as you wander in the mall because aside from the fact that it is a waste of time, you’re likely to forget somebody too. Hence, before heading to the mall, write the list of persons whom you want to give presents to. Start with your immediate family, then your extended family, your closest friends, your godchildren, and so on and so forth. Make this list permanent – because you’ll be needing this again in the next Christmas.
- Pick a theme. Personalized gifts are ideal – if one has the time to ponder and go around leisurely around the mall. For lazy occupied bodies like me, just pick a gift motif for the holidays. Before I go to my yearly holiday shopping, I’d think of a generic theme, e.g. “underwear”, “books”, “sleep wear”, “toiletries” so that I will just be making a one-stop shop. When I had “underwear” for my theme before, I just headed to the underwear section and bought undies for everybody. This year’s theme is “books” and I just headed to the bookstore and picked books for all ages. Of course, there will be a few gifts which will not be generic but carefully handpicked depending on your relationship to the recipient – like when my theme was “undies” I got everybody in the family undies, but I didn’t get my office mates the same for obvious reasons. Anyway, the general rule is to go generic because it’s more likely that most of the gifts will be given to those persons who are closest to you which you are very comfortable giving “undies” to, hehehe. Or go the easiest way and pick a safe theme – like “books”.
- Estimate the cost. Having decided on a particular theme, move further and select which kinds or brands will you be buying to suit your budget. If you want, just allot a particular amount per person per gift like P 350.00 per person or something to that effect – you can take or add as you go along. This is just so you’ll be prepared how much money to bring.
- Carry enough cash. Since you are going to do one time Christmas shopping, make sure you have enough cash for what you will be spending. This would be easy considering you had previously estimated the cost. So, withdraw enough money, or to be safe, bring along your credit card.
- Don’t forget the bare necessities. By this I mean to purchase enough Christmas wrappers, gift tags, scotch tape, ribbons. You can’t make another trip to the mall just to buy them. To save money, go and look for the ones sold in bulk because it’s not only cheaper, it eats little time – never mind if they have the same design, the recipients won’t know anyway.
- Timing is everything. Don’t go and buy gifts on paydays and weekends. Go when the mall will be less crowded so that the lines won’t be long. Take off during weekdays, especially after paydays because the malls will be almost empty. If you have to go on a weekend, go early when the malls open or really late when the malls are about to close. It’s also better to go on a Sunday than a Saturday – Saturday is likely a “mall day” while Sunday is “mass day”. I did mine on a weekday on working hours so I had the mall to myself.
Have fun and good luck!