They say the most stressful times of the year are Christmas and tax season. Here are a few suggestions on organizing your life to minimize gift buying stress at Christmastime:

  • Keep track of items people mention they would like.
  • Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and record the item bought for each person along with the amount. Don’t forget people like the postal carrier, newspaper delivery, babysitter, etc.
  • Once you make up your list you can review it to determine who can be bought for before Christmas season begins. People you buy gifts for but don’t ask what they want, can be bought early.
  • Only after you have written down each gift that you bought, remove price tags, wrap, and label each gift. If you don’t write the gift down, you won’t remember it later and you may wind up removing the wrapping paper.
  • Store all items in one place. Keep all receipts in a separate envelope titled, “Christmas receipts 2011”.

Where to buy gifts in summer.
Places to buy gifts in the summer include art & craft fairs, flea markets (many new items), and antique shows. Sidewalk sales and last year’s merchandise offer huge discounts. Last year I bought my sisters beautiful hand-painted ceramic dip holders from an art fair. The larger craft fairs even have items for men to buy such as sports paraphernalia.

So, to minimize Christmas stress levels, there are many people you can shop for early especially if you participate in grab bags and more generic gifts. This would include your children’s teachers, neighbors, and co-workers. In addition, it is easier to pay for your gifts in smaller increments than all at once at Christmas time.

For more ideas read the article titled Christmas Shopping in Summer.

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