Today and tomorrow, is officially the last weekend before Christmas. Translation: pretty much every one will be out "panic" shopping all weekend long.
There is nothing I dread more than herds of people, long lines, flashing lights, and endless selections/options that create an awful ringing in my head.
Over the years, I have learned a thing or two, and I've decided to share with you my top 5 tips for the last minute shopper.
Tip 1: Avoid buying bulk.
I know we are all stressed and nothing would be better than just getting all your shopping done in one go, but please stop yourself and think.
I'm pretty sure we have all done this at least once to some degree, simply because the temptation is pretty irresistible. Stores almost always have a promotional deal, "buy one get one free", or something a long those lines. It is cheap, quick and easy, but more importantly gets the "job" done. Just yesterday, I saw a lady buy 10 cashmere scarfs in different colors, and another purchased a half a dozen fuzzy blankets. Yes, they are individually a good gift, however, during the holidays I believe it is all about the personal touches. It is not so much the present that holds value as the "thought" process you go through while selecting the perfect gift for each loved one.
Tip 2: Think Outside the Box
If you want to avoid a crowd, don't think like everyone else. I think it is always fun to get a bit creative and make unusual gift packs, customized for the person. For example, a movie night kit would include some popcorn, candies, dvds, and maybe future movie tix. Luckily all items can be purchased in a grocery store, or local movie theater, avoiding any lines or crowds. Other kit ideas, can be personalized to the taste of each person. For example, if someone loves Italy, and wants to go there someday, purchase a basket filled with Italian pasta, Dictionary, Language Books, and Italian photos.
Tip 3: A Gift Can Be an Experience
Often times we are so focused on a gift as being something we can touch, or keep but it can also be an experience. Future tickets to a show, a fancy dinner, or trip are some thoughtful ways to create memories together. However, if you do not have any money, you can create your own tickets of fun experiences. For example, a ticket for "Dinner for two in Paris". It wouldn't have to be a literal trip to Paris, but a menu of French Cuisine, cooked by you, with French music in the back ground, and a French themed Movie.
Tip 4: Handmade
I know we live in the age where people place value of love in value of dollars, but, I still choose to believe in the power of good old fashion, hand crafted items. Whether it be a hand written letter, a drawing, or even a photo of a sentimental place, memory, or item. It is in the "personal" touches that shows the most love of all.
Tip 5: Creating Memories
Most importantly, the Holidays for me are all about creating memories with those you love. As I get older, you realize the importance of these "moments" and how precious they really are. Time is fleeting, and people you love may break off or vanish from your lives. Whether they are with you every Holiday or not, the memories you create now, will hold effect in your future. Keep that in mind when purchasing your gift.
One of my favorite scenes in Home Alone 2 is when Kevin gives a turtle dove to the bird lady, and promises to never forget her. For those of you who never saw this movie, the turtle doves were given to him by the owner of a toy store, and they are meant to be given to the most special friend. You are suppose to keep one, and give the other to someone you love, and no matter what happens, the two of you will always be together.
Many years ago, I gave a very special person a turtle dove tree ornament, inspired by this very scene. Although, I no longer speak to this person, my turtle dove ornament, floats on my tree and rushes warm memories of a person, still very special to me.