HOUSTON - The holidays are fast approaching along with the accompanying excitement and stress of holiday shopping. For many, this experience translates into online shopping and visiting store after store to find the best deals. Holiday shopping can be relaxing and joyful for some; however, if you’re one of those people who dreads it and wishes you could avoid it altogether, these tips can help you find the best deals without disagreements or leaving the store feeling defeated.
1. Gift giving is not a competition. It’s easy to get caught up in giving someone an expensive gift to match the extravagant one they gave you the prior year. Sometimes family members buy expensive gifts, which may leave you feeling guilty if you don’t reciprocate. The purpose of gift giving is to make someone you cherish feel special - not to win a competition. Keep your gifts simple but thoughtful.
2. Shop during the least busy times and stick to a list. If you despise crowds, shop during off times. If you have a flexible schedule, make more frequent short trips at sporadic times during the day to save yourself the headache of standing in long lines or parking hassles. Sticking to a list will help you feel confident that you won’t be hit with credit card debt at the end of the holiday season.
3. Be respectful of staff and other shoppers. Feel better about your purchase and the experience by offering kindness to people in the service industry. If an item you wanted is out of stock or sold out, recognize this is not the sales clerk’s fault. Rather than yelling or acting rude to other customers or service workers, thank them for anything they offer to help. If you bump into another customer, apologize. Stay calm and smile.
4. Don’t buy for everyone - choose one or two people. Limiting your list can significantly reduce stress. Purchasing a gift for one or two special friends is much more rewarding than picking up small, meaningless items for everyone. If money is tight, make coupons for close friends and family for quality time together after the holidays, such as a coffee date, yoga meet-up, or hiking in a nearby park. Time spent together with those we cherish is much more meaningful than a material gift.
5. Treat yourself with a small holiday trinket. Make shopping therapeutic by rewarding yourself with a small non-extravagant gift such as a new lipstick or a money clip. Sometimes a little something for yourself will help get you in the Christmas spirit and enjoy the shopping experience.
The holidays are a time to extend good will to others, but that spirit is often marred by the pressure to find the best gift, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. The spirit of Christmas is the reason we are willing to brave the crowds and take the time to select something special for someone we love. Enjoy your shopping experience more by refusing to forget that kindness, patience, and smiling at strangers can serve as the greatest gift you can give to others. When we talk about peace on earth, remember that peace on earth begins with peace inside of yourself.