8 Tips for Saner Shopping

It’s that time of year again: The cold air carries the scent of Fraser firs and cinnamon, and you find yourself wanting to stay cozied in your house with an old Jimmy Stewart flick.

This is why the idea of holiday shopping may raise your stress level a bit. Your free time shouldn’t be spent sprinting down store aisles like a fullback trying to grab the last cute sweater.  

Believe it or not, it’s possible to have a serene shopping experience. With the help of Beth Downey, personal shopper and owner of Can Do! Concierge Inc., of Cary, we’ve compiled the best tips to keep you sane as you gather your gifts.

1. Find your “one stop-shop” for the whole family. Whether it’s a local boutique or a department store, this saves you the hassle of running around to various shopping centers. Choose a store to meet your budget, and one with a wide array of gifts for all ages and genders.

2. Shop early. And be sure to know the store’s return policy in case you change your mind about a purchase.

3. Give with your heart. “The art of giving involves following your heart,” Downey said. If the gift you’re thinking about giving feels comfortable budget-wise and on heart level, you’re heading in the right direction.

4. Look for the sales. Sales are everywhere, so pay attention to newspaper, magazine and online ads. Amazon.com can help take the fuss out of price comparison.  

5. Always have an extra gift. It happens — someone unexpectedly surprises us with something nice. These are the times to have an extra gender-friendly gift wrapped and ready, or resort to a re-gifted gift.

“If the gift is appropriate, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and it’s a good way to recycle,” Downey said.

6. Create a budget, and stick to it. Count how many gifts you are planning to buy, calculate their cost and make sure you’re comfortable with the total. Then, stick to the budget!  

“It is so easy to fudge a little here and there, but when the credit card bills start coming in there will consequences to pay,” Downey warns.

7. Consider shopping online. That doesn’t have to mean chain store; many locally-owned shops offer online shopping too.  

8. Remember the purpose. Holiday shopping should reflect the joy and spirit of the season.

“Sometimes it seems like one big frenetic dance,” said Downey. “But be reminded to step back and reflect on whether the holidays are about getting and giving the biggest, most expensive gifts or being present in the moment with family and friends, and giving the present of presence.”


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