By Barbara Rey
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the holidays are here, whether or not we feel ready! After more than 25 years of being a professional organizer, I have mastered the art of being organizing when it comes to shopping for everyone on my holiday list. Here are my top tips for hassle-free holiday shopping:
- Limit your shopping hours. Make a list of everyone you need to shop for and then give yourself a specific amount of time to do all the buying, such as a total of nine hours or three Sunday afternoons. Setting a finite time frame will motivate you to use your time wisely. You’ll find that if you are shopping with a self-imposed deadline, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time.
- Choose a specific date as your shopping deadline. Try to make it an early date. For example, I buy all my gifts by Thanksgiving. But if you missed this deadline, shoot for this weekend, or the next one. As part of shopping, wrap the gifts as you go, so you don’t get caught at the last minute with a huge pile of presents to wrap. This way, you can remain relaxed in December, ready to focus on family, friends and the joy that is at the heart of the holidays.
- Keep your shopping list with you in your wallet. As you shop, you’ll be able to refer to your list and finish up gift-buying much faster. You’ll also avoid making spontaneous unnecessary purchases for people you already bought for, which can bust your budget or cause you to endure the agony of making holiday returns.
- Simplify. One year I bought books or candles for everyone on my list. After just a few hours in a large book store, I had 90 percent of my shopping done. Another wonderful solution is to give a gift in the name of your family and friends to charitable organizations, such as Hillsides. This way, you are making a positive impact while also letting someone know you appreciate them.
- Reward yourself. Once you’re all done with shopping for others, treat yourself with a special gift or treat. After being so well-prepared, you deserve it! Plus, this can serve as a further incentive to get ready for the holidays early.
- Maximize the days after the holidays. Take advantage of the post-holiday sales by buying wrapping paper and decorations for 50%-70% off. If you’re really ambitious, you can already write next year’s holiday list, and start buying gifts at a discount for the next year!
Barbara Rey, Hillsides receptionist, has enjoyed living in such exotic locations as London and Mexico City. She earned her bachelor’s degree of fine arts from Loyola Marymount University in 2012. Besides organizing, her many interests include embroidery, calligraphy, jewelry-making, and reading.