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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday Shopping: Organizing the "Plan of Attack"

My family usually travels on Thanksgiving (since we always stay home for Christmas), but this year we will be home, so we are enjoying some unexpected perks.  The annual Christmas Tree hunt - selecting and felling our family tree with good friends - is made into a day-long event with lunch and some four-wheel vehicle play.

And I have decided to do the Black Friday thing.  I am usually happy to skip this event because I don't do well with crowds of chaos, but since we're in town, some girlfriends and I are going to brave it this year. 

Even though I'm sure it's altogether impossible, I will try to thwart some of the chaos with a game plan.  For the sake of our budget, I stick to gifts for the kids and a handmade something for my close friends and family. 

Here are some tips for approaching Black Friday (and Holiday buying in general):

Make a list of recipients.  This way I am sure not to forget anyone on accident and I can match gifts up with recipients while shopping.

Jot down some ideas, but stay flexible.  This won't be helpful all the time, but if I have a rough idea of what to get someone ahead of time, it seems easier to find things.  At the same time, I don't like to be too specific, especially for the kids, because specifics can be hard to find, or keep me from seeing a great deal or option that would make the recipient equally happy.

Don't forget the stuff for handmade gifts.  I also list the supplies I need for my handmade gifts and pick them up if there is a great deal.  iHeart Organizing recently posted a wonderful set of inspiring handmade gifts if you need great ideas.

Remember where you've been.  I try to get a few things, especially for my own kids, before the holidays arrive to spread out the spending.  Include a list of the things you've already purchased on your plan of attack list so you don't repurchase anything or overbuy.

Plan your budget too.  Speaking of avoiding overbuying, along with all the recipients for whom you'd like to buy, list a ballpark budget amount.  Then add it all up prior to shopping to make sure you are staying within your means.  No one wants you to sacrifice important things for the sake of giving gifts!  We are all going through these tough times!

Look for ads online.  Most of the big stores already have their Black Friday ads posted one their websites.  Most stores seem to be opening at midnight this year, but a few are opening at 10 PM on Thanksgiving, which should allow for some staggered shopping.

Bring along some extra patience.  Remember that it is supposed to be fun!  A few deep breaths here and thinking of this happy place will probably help me!

A few extra gifts don't hurt.  I buy several neutral gifts for the gift-stealing parties and a few extra kiddo toys for unexpected gift-giving opportunities.  If you stick with non-holiday related items, you can always give them as gifts at other times of the year (or return them later).

Small Business Saturday.  I also plan to support small businesses and boutiques in my area this Holiday season.  We get a special themed gift for each of our children every year at a WONDERFUL local toy and everything store, Bird in Hand.  I would be crushed if they ever went out of business, so I am sure to support them too!

Please comment and share your Holiday Shopping Tips!!!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday!!

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