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Holiday Gifts - Early Shopping Strategies

By Marilyn Franklin

Shop Early with SantaShopping for holiday gifts doesn't have to be a last minute scramble.  Here are some early shopping strategies to help you get everything on your list at the best prices available.  Holiday gifts are usually given to family, friends, co-workers and bosses and if you own your own business, giving the right corporate gifts during the holidays is great for marketing your business.  So how do you make sure you don't drop the ball?

The key is proper planning.  I don't know where in my corporate background I heard this saying but there is a 5 P saying that reminds you about how important planning is, "Proper planning prevents poor performance".  Getting the right holiday gifts at a price you can afford takes planning. 

What I do before the holidays is make a list of the people that I need to buy gifts for.  You can break it down by the categories I mentioned above, family, friends...  You can then prioritize by the most important and then you can also decide on a budget that you will be able to live with.  The next step would be to brainstorm for gift ideas for each person.  A good place to look for ideas is a website like ours that provides articles and reviews on gifts for everyone and every occasion.  But don't worry, you don't have to have something identified for everyone on your list yet.

For the holiday gifts that you have identified you have to research where you are going to buy them.  If you are shopping as early as Black Friday(the day after Thanksgiving), you can review the circulars to see if they have any specials for the items you are looking for.  If they do you can either go to the store to buy it if it is an in store special or buy it online if you found the item online.  These will be quick hits that will cross people off your list pretty early in the Christmas shopping season.

If you haven't found any specials in the circulars then it's time to do some online research.  Google the item and see what stores are offering it at what price and what the shipping costs would be.  This is very important since high shipping costs can wipe out any savings that they might have advertised as savings for the holiday gift you are buying.  Saving money is one of the advantages of shopping early and many online vendors have free shipping options available early in the shopping season.

Once these other holiday gifts are out of the way it is time to focus on the people on your list that you don't have specific gift ideas for.  Reading through articles on this site should definitely generate some ideas.  Themed gift baskets are a favorite of mine for those on my list that I have a hard time with.  Another of the benefits of shopping early is that you are exposed to more choices of possible presents at the stores.  Window shopping around the mall or online early on may help you stumble upon an idea for a gift that you would not have even thought of.

This methodical approach may not be for everyone.  Some people may want to be a little more carefree when it comes to shopping their holiday gifts but the risk with a carefree approach is not being able to find the gift you are looking for at the price you can afford.  You also have reduced choices as the Christmas shopping season gets closer to the end.

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