Last Minute Christmas Shopping: How To Make It Less Stressful!

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By Graham Lee

With Christmas Day only 3 days away and Christmas Eve being on a Saturday this year, many people have still not started their Christmas shopping. Personally I like to get it all done by at least a week before Christmas.

If you are one of those people who do the majority of your Christmas shopping at the last minute, then this article is for you.

Visit any mall or shopping center in the final days before Christmas and you are likely to find parking lots filled to capacity and stores that are literally overflowing with shoppers who are still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their friends or family members.

As it gets closer and closer to Christmas the crowds tend to get more and more restless and the search for the perfect gift becomes a search for an acceptable gift. The crowds are also filled with what I like to call ‘the mindless wanderers’; those shoppers who don’t have clue what they want to buy and wander from shop to shop, hoping something catches their eye. The mindless wanderers are totally oblivious to everyone else around them and constantly change direction without any thought to who they collide with, and then act like it’s not their fault when they do.

Although Christmas falls at the end of the year and people have a whole year to prepare for this joyous occasion, so many people still leave their shopping until the last minute every year despite New Year resolutions to get the Christmas shopping done early.

Before we look at how to get through the next couple of days without too much stress, let’s decide what type of last minute Christmas shopper you are. There are those who do their Christmas shopping at the last minute out of necessity, those who do it because they have procrastinated and those who do it because they find it to be exciting.

Last Minute Necessity

People become last minute Christmas shoppers for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most innocent last minute shoppers are those who shop at the last minute out of necessity.

Consider college students and shop workers. College students typically end the semester around mid to late December. They usually sit finals just before Christmas and understandably they would have to spend the early part of December studying, the middle of the month taking their finals and then wind up last minute Christmas shopping almost immediately after their last final.

Shop workers are usually at their busiest during the christmas period, they take rushed, shortened breaks and work longer opening hours. When they eventually finish work and get home after dealing with frustrated christmas shoppers, all they want to do is collapse in a hot bath and relax before the onslaught starts again tomorrow.

Proscrastination Rules

Then there are those who are just born procrastinators. They go to stores every weekend in October or November. This could be an excellent opportunity for them to get their Christmas shopping done early but instead they wind up window shopping or purchasing items for themselves.

While they are aware the Christmas season is approaching, they don’t feel compelled to start shopping until the absolute last minute. When this happens they find themselves in the unfortunate position of fighting the crowds in a last minute Christmas shopping frenzy. These people are usually the mindless wanderers you need to avoid early in the christmas shopping season.

The Thrill of the Shop

Finally, there are others who are last minute Christmas shoppers simply because this is when they prefer to do their Christmas shopping.

Some of these shoppers see shopping at the last minute as a challenge. They know they are short on time but are confident they will be able to find great gifts for everyone on their Christmas list.

Other shoppers who intentionally wait until the last minute may do so because they enjoy the excitement of the crowds. Although last minute Christmas shopping can be stressful it is often exciting. Those who enjoy this excitement love shopping at the last minute because it gives them a sense of energy they wouldn’t feel if they were shopping for Christmas presents in October, and so they always seem to manage to get everything done, get all the presents they need without any real issue.

But whichever group you fall into, you now have only 2 days left to do all your christmas shopping for 2011, so how do you ensure you get everything done before Christmas Day.

Make a List for Christmas Shopping

‘He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice’ So the line goes from one of the most recognized Christmas carols. Almost everyone who celebrates Christmas knows all about Santa’s good list as well as his naughty list and most people do their best to avoid being placed on the naughty list.

While the concept of Santa’s good list and naughty list is a fun way to convince children to be on their best behaviour during the Christmas season, the concept of a list is one that all Christmas shoppers would do well to adhere to while they are doing their Christmas shopping.

If you’ve intentionally, or worse unintentionally, found yourself today, just about to start your christmas shopping, then I suggest you spend this evening or early tomorrow following the advice below.

Christmas shopping should be filled with all sorts of lists.

People Lists

Making a list of everyone you plan to give a Christmas gift to should be the first step in any Christmas shopping expedition. This list is so important because it gives you a handy reference to all the people you should keep in mind while you are shopping and also gives you an indication of the total number of people on your Christmas list.

Knowing how many people are on your list is important for setting a budget. Consider how much money you have to spend and divide this amount by the number of people on your list and this will give you an idea of how much you can spend on each person on your Christmas list.

Present Lists

After you make your people list and set your budget, it is a good idea to make another list of potential gift ideas for each person on your Christmas gift list. It is a good idea to brainstorm and try to come up with a few good gift ideas for each person on your list. This is helpful because when you are out Christmas shopping you know where to start your search and will have a few choices if you are having difficulty finding one of the items on your list of suggestions.

You may find items which are not on your list but are perfect for the person you are shopping for and it is acceptable to buy these items. It is important to remember your list of suggestions is just a starting point and if you find a more appropriate gift that is not on your list it is a good idea to purchase this gift instead.

Purchased Gifts

When Christmas shopping you should also keep a list of the items you actually purchase as Christmas gifts for those on your list. This is a good idea because if you have a particularly long list, you may have difficulty remembering all the items you already bought. This list could just be an update to your people list marked with the gifts you have bought them.

Keeping an updated list of whom you have already purchased Christmas gifts for and what you bought them will minimize the problem of missing someones gift.

This list also comes in handy when the time comes, usually now late on Christmas Eve, to start wrapping all the Christmas gifts you purchased. You may have a closet full of gifts but you may have trouble remembering which gift goes to which recipient. However, if you kept an accurate list as you made your purchases this should not be a problem.

Time to Get Moving

So what are you waiting for? Why are you still reading this article?

Go and find a pen and notebook and start writing your first list of people you should be buying gifts for. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be organised for that last minute Christmas Eve dash around the shops.

And Oh Yes, Merry Christmas to You all. I hope you have a good one and don’t miss anyone out.

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About the Author

Graham Lee is CEO of The Income Zone, where you will find online ebusiness tools for web entrepreneurs. Graham is also the owner of a number of other websites offering tools and information about internet marketing and working online.

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