If you’ve moved away from loved ones or are a military family, you know Christmas shopping is a challenge. We all want to buy presents, but the post office bill can really rack up! Here are some Christmas shopping tips to help:
If you have family and friends scattered near and far then it’s important to be organized about Christmas shopping.
From someone who lives far from home (read my story here) here are some tips on Christmas shopping when you’re far from loved ones.
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1. Technology is your friend
Online shopping is by far the easiest route when buying presents for friends and family far away. Why?
You can ship directly to them without having to box it up and pay the extra fees on your end. Many online stores will even wrap your present with a gift message to be sent to the recipient.
This is convenient, more economical, and does not limit what you want to send since it will ship directly from the supplier.
Here are some great sites where you can find something for most people on your life.
2. Family VRS. Individual
When you live down the road (or a town away) from loved ones you can stuff the car full and drive over with gifts. When you’re not, it’s time to start thinking smarter.
If you have a large family you could spend thousands of dollars and hours wrapping presents, then packing the boxes that the boxes go in, and then lining up at the post office to mail them.
Instead of including a present for each person, think about how you can bless the entire family unit as a whole. You might be able to give one gift instead of 5 multiple ones, and this may even spark your creativity. Which leads me to my next point…
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3. Experiences that don’t fit in boxes
Instead of buying 5 physical gifts for a family of 5, why not give them one gift they can use together?
If the family is taking a vacation in the next year to Disney World, you could give them gift certificates or vouchers for local attractions. Additionally, gift certificates to restaurants or local theme parks are nice ideas because the entire family can enjoy them.
If you are particularly close to the family you’ll know their likes, habits, and interests. Groupon is a great site to find experiences for families from things like kite surfing to white water rafting.
Be careful not to choose something too off the wall because you don’t want the gift to remain unused, but if you really know what your friends and fan love, it could be a big hit!
4. Bulk ship
My mother lives in the same area with most of my family. Miles and miles away. Tear. I will often ship things to her house since she’s willing to throw it into Christmas bags and put a name on it for me.
It is more work for her, but less work in general. If you buy individual gifts for families and friends in one area, why not ship them to one family member’s home in that area and ask them to distribute your gifts for you.
Family is likely to be together on Christmas anyway.
5. Scale back
We have no family (at all) near us, and there are tons of people we want to buy for all over the world. But unfortunately during this season it’s not possible for us to go all out and buy for everyone we love. Shipping overseas is no joke!
Sending a nice personalized card with a gift card, or small handmade item still communicates thought and love, you don’t necessarily have to buy a big present to show you care.
6. Save it for later
If you won’t see your family or friends during the holidays, but will in the months afterwards, think about sending a card in lieu of a gift, and doing something special together when you are near. You could take the family out to dinner or the movies, or to see a show.
Christmas is a special time, but the reason for the season is not racking up on gifts!
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7. Start early
Some years (mostly the years I’m not pregnant… which is a distant memory) I’ve been known to finish Christmas shopping earlier in the year. This always makes the season more enjoyable because it becomes a time of togetherness and celebration as opposed to manic shopping and to-do lists.
Christmas shopping early helps spread out the expenses, prevents over-spending, helps you stay organized, and takes a lot of pressure of the holiday season.
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