'Tis the Season to Plan Christmas Gifts That Mean Something

'Tis the Season to Plan Christmas Gifts That Mean Something

The holiday season is here. 

All of us are in a shopping frenzy, getting that last minute booking and a special present before the season begins officially. This year, the meaning of getting gifts for our loved ones might have changed a bit. Many of us decided to shop online and avoided social contact as a result of the pandemic. 

On the bright side, holidays are still the same. We love shopping, whether in-store or online. 

Christmas is by far the most popular holiday in the US. And so, as expected, spending patterns and bills at this time of year around are usually quite noticeable for each household. The tradition of exchanging gifts is a warm gesture that improves family ties within family and friends. However, it can quickly turn into a financial burden if not planned ahead of time with a prudent approach. 

According to Investopedia, the average American is expected to spend $998 on gifts and holiday items in 2020, which is only $50 less than last year's spending. The holiday's expense has not changed a lot over the year even though people are stranded in their homes, staying a good 6 feet apart. 

I want to help you plan Christmas shopping this year that means something and does not cause a big hole in your pocket. 

Budget For A Merrier Christmas: 

Christmas shopping that's inevitably efficient and truly 'merry' is the one that has been thoughtfully curated to fit your budget. It is a good idea, to begin with, a fixed amount of money that you have set aside for the holidays and then plan your expenditures around it. This is a very crucial phase of your budgeting for the entire year. 22% of Americans believe that their Christmas spending can leave them in debt. This assumption potentially springs from poor planning before the festive season begins. 

Budgeting for each year can become much more ideal if you begin well before time, maybe around Thanksgiving. This will help you think thoroughly and get a better view of your income and expenses. Prioritize your bucket list, set aside an amount for family, and treat yourself generously. 

But it's never too late to get your numbers right. If you have not begun yet, now is the time!

Do Not Overspend While You Shop Online

So far, 66% of US consumers have shopped online. By 2021, there will be 230 million online shoppers in the country. 

The convenience of shopping online has become more of a necessity after Covid-19. Shopping online does benefit from looking at a wider variety virtually, but it also means that shoppers cannot interact with the product physically. This can lead to disappointment for the buyer when the shipment arrives and a failure to select the right Christmas present. 

The online retail space is massively influenced by expensive advertisements that want to drive customers to excessive spending. Be wary of sales, deals, and offers that look too good to be true. These tempting online ads can lead you to overspend without you even realizing how much you lost (instead of the brand's notion of 'saving'). Focus on your budget and keep track of your spending while you passionately add items to your cart. 

Online shopping isn't bad. But, the process can be improved. It is always a wise idea to find the product online and read customer reviews in detail. Social media platforms are a great way to see how brands are performing and satisfied their customers are. However, less than 9% of people use their social media for gift hunting and review. We are missing out on useful information, not turning to online communities for shopping advice! 

The Sustainable Gift Strategy

While exchanging gifts is a wonderful idea, spending a hefty amount of your savings on getting presents for several loved ones can become a budget buster. 

According to a research study, 66% of the younger shoppers prefer to buy sustainable gifts for the Christmas season compared to older adults. This statistic alone says much about the buying preferences of two different generations. 

If you are giving someone a present for the sake of it, it may turn out to be a waste for the person receiving it. Think about the thought behind the item you are getting. How will it impact you or your friend, or the environment? Do you buy things that bring negative value to all of those involved?

Getting sustainable gifts like soaps, scented candles, baking mixes, and crafts from budding entrepreneurs can save you money and help you contribute to a cause simultaneously. You end up supporting local artisans and sharing personalized items that are not available at every other store at the mall. 

There are a lot of online resources to help you find affordable gifts that mean something. As a responsible consumer, you can make a difference to yourself, as well as the world around you. This holiday season, you can inspire others to do something they've never done before. 

Gift Vouchers Are The Real Deal

How many times have you received a gift during the holiday season and lied about liking it? I am sure this has happened more than a few times. It is doubtful that you will give someone exactly something they need. The entire process of choosing a gift is cumbersome, and it becomes more disappointing when the receiver ends up tossing it in the closet for months to come. 

According to Census Wide, many men want gift vouchers for Christmas, but only 20% of them end up receiving them. Giving friends and distant family gift vouchers is a much better idea than choosing something for them on your own. Coupons from their favorite shops will help them choose something of their liking and preference and give them some time to think about their purchase. This way, they will get exactly what they want, precisely when the need arises. 

An Alternative To Material Gifts

In the year 2018 alone, holiday retail spending crossed $1 trillion. People spend hundreds of dollars buying things this time of the year to make each other feel special. The aimlessly bought gifts from store shelves could end up as decorative items inside your cabinets or just become clutter in someone else's. 

It has become more important to start thinking about alternative ways in which we can continue this tradition. How about taking food items or drinks to someone's house, especially during a time of year that's all about sharing with friends and family. Food, homemade or not, is consumed more quickly and has fewer chances of going to waste. 

You can also sponsor a trip for your family or friends where they can enjoy some time in peace with their loved ones, or you can discuss what they would prefer. Getting to know someone's needs will help you choose better gifts. 

I hope that I have helped you change your gifting strategy this year and that it feels less like a mandatory task than an expression of love. Let's hope that we are not so socially distant the next year and spend Christmas together with our friends and family while we physically exchange our gifts that mean something! 

Happy Wonderful Time With Your Loved Ones!

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