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- While it’s important not to spend a fortune on holiday shopping, my values are my top priority.
- I take advantage of sales including Black Friday. But I also shop locally and go to thrift stores.
- For those who don’t need more, buying experiences is a great way to feel good about gift-giving.
For many people, myself included, the holidays can be a difficult time. The rush of having to get work done with a big red ribbon before taking a vacation, having to organize and execute travel plans, having to host or attend a holiday party, the financial side of things… Needless to say, it’s a Pandora’s box of social pressures.
Even though the holiday season has many challenges, I love Christmas. I always have it. I come from a family that is very generous, thoughtful, and very good at giving gifts. However, I did not inherit this trait. I’ve developed some helpful strategies.
My approach to holiday shopping has evolved over the years. It has become clearer to me that I need to first and foremost align my spending with my values (voting with my wallet, so to speak), and secondly with my budget. I did.
This doesn’t mean breaking the bank when it comes to gifts, but it does mean more planning and preparation.
I don’t budget when I’m on vacation, but I make it a priority to be happy with how I spend my money. If you can find a gift that is sustainable, earth-friendly, fair, and supports the creator, you’ve truly found the gift that keeps on giving.
Here’s how I’m making the holidays even warmer and fluffier.
1. Shop during big sales, including Black Friday
Yes, this means you should already have an idea of what you are looking for so that you are ready when the sale starts. I keep the list on my phone and add to it throughout the year. When you hear your loved one expressing a need or desire for something, it will be written in the Notes app.
Or maybe I noticed that their home was missing something practical that I thought would make their life easier and hopefully more beautiful. Please add to the list. Now you’re ready to shop for great deals.
And really, who doesn’t love a good deal? When you buy a Christmas present, you know someone will actually use it and appreciate it. and I bought it on sale, so it feels like a present to myself. Promotes the secretion of dopamine.
2. I (try) to shop locally and in line with my values.
I’m becoming more and more self-aware when it comes to my spending, and gifts are no exception. I avoid big online retailers, fast fashion, and products that come a long way.
Instead, I choose businesses that are local, ethical, and owned and operated by women and BIPOC. And I do my research. My sister often has very clear ideas about what she wants for Christmas. If she doesn’t like what she learns about the company that makes what she’s looking for, I’ll work to find a comparable replacement that I’m happy with.
This approach also applies to the things I have on my wish list. When my family asks me what they want for Christmas or their birthday, I give them a list of items that they will actually use and be happy with. Even if I’m not spending money on the product, someone else is.
Last year, I used my frugal skills to gift a few carefully selected second-hand items to friends and family. It was in great condition, unique, and historic. I love recycling and receiving recycled items. Finding the right second-hand gift takes time, energy, thoughtfulness, and a good eye, and I’m here for it.
3. I choose experiences.
For the people in my life who are exhausted and overwhelmed by the accumulation. thing, I’m choosing the experience. As the main Christmas present this year, I will be taking my father to dinner and a dance performance.
We have a long-standing tradition of watching dance shows together (he wish I’ll go, I promise). We enjoy it all night long. At Christmas time, he buys us tickets to see The Nutcracker, and we treat ourselves to a nice dinner out, and after the show, we go to a downtown department store and look at the holiday-themed windows on the way home.
Of course, I want to put something under the tree for him, so maybe I’ll buy him some locally made whiskey or chocolate truffles.