What to Do Right Now If You’re Not Done Shopping for the Holidays Yet

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It’s late, I know, but there is still time to get those last minute gifts! Here are some simple tips in attempt to keep you from feeling overwhelmed (they work for me and I think they might help you too).

Make a list. I know, it sounds so obvious, but these days the stores are packed with thousands of irresistible-looking gifts and it’s easy to be thrown off and become over-stimulated by all the shiny wonderful things in the stores. If you make a list of each person you need a gift for and jot down an idea or two, it may keep you from wandering aimlessly in the shops.

Set spending limits. Tell yourself you are spending $20/$30/$40 bucks on each person. Don’t go over the limit! Having a budget insures that you will leave with something as there is no reason to go crazy. Christmas/Hanukkah is a nice time to give token objects to the people you love whereas birthdays should or could really be the time to spend more extravagantly.

Give everyone the same present. I’ve had great results walking into a bookstore (for example) with my list and finding a book for each person. Who doesn’t love books? You could give each person a magazine subscription or tickets to a movie or a gift card.

Give the gift of food. You don’t have to be a chef to give food; m family has given lots of delicious food gifts over the years. There’s still time to make a jar of homemade pickles for each person on your list, for example. It doesn’t take much time and the cost of the jars and ingredients is nominal. We given jars of marinated Manchego cheese too. Cookies take longer but are still a thoughtful present.

Shop from home. Yes, the brick and mortar stores depend on foot traffic, but…there are incredible things on line – and, if you can stick with one site (I had tremendous luck at ThinkGeek this year) you can do all your shopping in an hour or so.

Make your gift give back. Consider making donations in people’s names. Does your aunt really need a sweater? It’s hard to deny that helping others during the holidays is a bad idea. We’ve given cows, sheep and ducks at the Heifer International site. We’ve felt great doing it and know that we’ve done good things with our gift budget.

Give a little of yourself. There are several sites where you can make a family calendar (grandmothers love them!) with shots of your kids – or even kid artwork. Put the aaah back in Hanukkah!

Lighten up a little. I have a new philosophy about gift giving: I’ll never find the perfect gift for the people on my list but I just might find something that makes them smile or makes a difference. When I took the pressure off myself, giving got a little easier, and a lot more fun.

I’m wishing you all good things for 2010!