|(Photo: Matthias Ripp)|
1. Make a list. - Make a list of all the people you want to give gifts to this year and what you want to get them. Doing this kind of leg work before you step foot inside a store will help things go smoothly.
2. Give gifts that spark a special memory - When you plan out a gift, go for items that spark a pleasant memory or hail from a special time.
3. Give a functional gift -Give gifts that you know will be used or consumed like a monogramed mug stuffed with coffee for a regular caffeine drinker. A functional gift is a gift that will be appreciated and remembered.
4. Shop during unusual days and times - Shop week nights, week days and Saturday and Sunday mornings to avoid crazed crowds and disorganized store floors (a pet peeve of mine).
5. Think twice before buying costly gifts. - Ask yourself, could I easily make this item. If the answer is yes, leave the store. You can easily make items like gift baskets or popcorn tins at a fourth of the price, customizing it to the loved one on the receiving end.
6. Traveling? Buy presents online and have them wrapped and shipped to your destination - Many websites provide this option.
7. Stick to simple gifts for co-workers - I usually give candy canes, ornaments or homemade sweets with a hand-written card of course!
8. Never give cash or gift cards! - Gift cards and money denotes laziness. Also people tend to spend too much when they buy gift cards. You would spend less by just taking the $25, $50, $100 you would have put on a card and buy a gift from your friend or family member's favorite store. It's considerate and cost effective.