I have a love-hate relationship with gift-giving. My biggest problem: I never know what to get anyone.
There’s always the option of asking what someone wants, but here are my issues with that. 1) If you say you want some Chanel perfume and my wallet is looking more like a DIY hot chocolate kit, then that’s awkward. And, 2) I think gifting should be less about getting someone something they want, and more about getting what you want them to have. It’s about the principle, not the product.
Here are my tactics for Holiday shopping this year:
Making a list, cutting it twice.
While Santa is checking lists twice, I’m cutting mine. I’m just now at a point in my life where I can afford to legitimately Christmas shop. But I refuse to rack up my credit card or break my budget for some holiday cheer. Make a list of the absolute closest people in your life and then shave it down until it’s as small as it can get. If you have to question someone or are reluctant to get them something… SCRATCH. This list is of the core people in your life, such as immediate family. Buy or make something very special for them. Their gifts are highest in value (in either time or money), because they're the most valuable people in your life.
Set limits with your loved ones.
This is the most important and useful for staying in budget. This year, my immediate family set limits for how much we’ll spend on each other’s gifts. This is also smart to do with friends, so that everyone is on the same page. Set a budget that works for everyone, then everyone is satisfied.
A small gift is still a gift.
Now that the golden group is out of the way, you can move on to people that you care about… just not as much (shhh). Get them something small and sweet. A $10 gift card to his/her favorite store would do the trick, or a DIY gift that you can make several for cheap – like Sharpie Mugs.
Get creative, but beware.
Everyone is quick to hop on the DIY bandwagon (which I love), but make sure you weigh the costs. If you need to buy $30 worth of materials, to make one customized pillow worth $10, ask yourself if it’s worth it? Sometimes DIYs will leave you just as broke.
Stop feeling guilty.
Guilt is a major culprit of overspending. We guilt trip ourselves into buying gifts for so many people. Especially after finding out that a friend who you weren’t intending on buying anything for, is, in fact, giving you a gift. That’s the worst. But try to not base your gift-giving habits on someone else's. Get gifts for the people who matter to you.
Shop after Christmas.
If you know you won’t see someone special until after Christmas, wait to buy their gifts. The best sales start the day on December 26th!
Remember, this is the season of love, giving, and joy. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of gift-giving stress you out to the point where you lose touch of what the holiday season is truly about.