Top 5 Ways to Shop for the Holidays

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giftsIt’s that time of year! Maybe you’ve given some thought to what you would like to buy the special people on your gift list, or maybe you have absolutely no clue. Often the whole process of gift buying becomes so overwhelming we’d rather just pretend like it doesn’t exist until the last possible second. But that really isn’t necessary. There are many ways to shop for the holidays that will cater to your gifting style and aid you in finding the perfect present for your loved ones.

1. Shop the Big Guys. As in, department and chain stores. They are begging you. They slash prices, tease you with early bird specials and tempt you with glitzy TV commercials. Every once in a while you’ll encounter a unique treasure in one of these stores, hopefully at sale price. But usually, you’ll find the typical – clothes, toys, electronics. If you have a lot of people to shop for, this is likely where you’ll find the safest gift options at the best prices.
2. Shop Online. Especially if you’re looking for something very specific. If you can’t find it online, consider whether or not the item exists. If your great uncle Albert wants that leg lamp he saw in A Christmas Story, it probably won’t be found at your local department store. But pop it into a search engine and you’ll know exactly where to get it.

Wait. Before you click BUY NOW, be sure you’re aware of any shipping fees, return policies, or gift wrap options. Online sources run Holiday specials too like free shipping. Take advantage of them. At the same time, avoid falling victim to costly add-ons, inflated prices or sub-par return policies.

3. Shop Local. An individually owned shop would really appreciate your holiday business. They may not be able to offer a 60% off early bird special, but they’ll likely make it up to you in product quality and originality. They aren’t selling the same stuff as the big box stores. You’re prone to find locally crafted pottery, handmade clothing and accessories, and original designs. This may be where you’ll want to look for those on your list who appreciate art, have distinctive style or unique taste. Supporting the small business owners in your community goes very well with a holiday spirit.

4. Shop Crafty. No matter what your budget, creating your own gifts is a great way to show the people on your list the thought and love you put into their present. Make a unique piece for the jewelry lover on your list. Build something for the new homeowners. Scrapbook a special time you shared with a friend. Paint. Sew. Knit. Decoupage.  All the tools you need can be found at your local craft or fabric store.  But before you venture out, look around your home.  You may have little trinkets or collections that with a little imagination could become a special work of art.

5. Shop Thrifty. Times have changed. Recycled items are all the rage like an Eco-friendly bag for your wife or sister. Best not overlook the plethora of gifting opportunities that lie within your local thrift or antique store. Perhaps there is someone on your list who would greatly appreciate a vintage or collectible item. Just make sure the item is in good condition and be willing to have the item properly cleaned/repaired.

No matter how you choose to shop for your gifts this year, remember what this season is really about:  love and giving.  Resist buying for the sake of buying and avoid getting caught up in the superficial hype.  Choose your gifts purposefully and let them be heartfelt.  Buy or create something you’re proud to give and your loved ones will be thrilled to receive.

Guest Blogger: Jill Erickson (Spoils of Wear)

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