I started Christmas shopping last week. Yes, it was weird to be shopping before Halloween, but I wanted to make sure that the bird toys wouldn’t be affected by the supply chain. Zack and Bubbles have exhausted the bird toys in stock at the few pet stores we have in the area, so we have to order their toys. I also started making my own wish list so I could get an idea of what delivery times look like for my own wish list. So far, so good there.
Today, I’m giving you tips for holiday shopping in unusual times, and some gift ideas that have been a hit for me without breaking the budget. Without further ado, let’s get started on Holiday Shopping 2021!
Tips to Prepare:
Get organized. I made an color coded Excel spreadsheet that has everybody we buy gifts for, with rows for gift ideas and what I actually buy them. The list is color coded: black for nothing yet, green is progress buying (items are on order, or I’m getting them more than one thing and some items are bought, while others aren’t), and red for complete (for the gift is bought and received). This list has been a life saver for me, because your memory isn’t as good as you think, and it can keep you from getting mixed up or forgetting anything. You can set up whatever system works for you, as long as it’s a list that you keep handy, organized, and updated.
Start buying gifts now. Order items online or through catalogs now, so delivery issues won’t be as much of an issue. I’d also encourage you to get any routine, non-perishable items that you routinely buy now as well. For example, I get Rick a pack of T-shirts from the birds every year (they tear up his shirts), so I bought those last week. I also have a family member who always gets a gift card, and I bought that with my grocery run last week as well. This not only helps with supply chain issues, but it spreads the costs of gifts out over a few months, instead of hitting all at once. And another note: if you’re “regifting” something, make sure to make a note of who gave it to you, and who you’re giving it to. I know budgets are tight, but this can get awkward. I’ve had several instances where people “regifted” me things that I gave them the previous year, and it was embarrassing for us both. You can do this, but do it carefully. If in doubt, don’t do it.
Make and share your own gift list now. Make note of items that catch your interest while you’re organizing and shopping, and make your own list. Use the “Wish List” option on Amazon or other websites you frequent, and give access to people you exchange gifts with. If you see something in a store, make a note of where they can buy the item, or any stores you like. Also, let them know if you’re ok with gift cards. I love them, but I’ve had friends who felt they were too “impersonal” or “lazy.” Be honest and get clear on expectations, budgets, etc. now.
Take stock of holiday supplies. Make a note of other things you need, like wrapping paper, tape, gift bags, gift baskets, cards (if you mail them), decorations, etc. Keep this list separate from the gift list. Discount stores can be great for these items, and they’re probably stocking them now that Halloween is over.
Keep an eye on your calendar. Things can sneak up on you, and the holidays aren’t the only thing going on. The last quarter of the year seems to be the busiest, so be sure to use the calendar and reminder apps on your phone to stay organized. I also do a weekly review of my schedule every Sunday, to make note of what’s coming up and any preparations I need to make. This helps when those inevitable surprise calls for “a moment of your time” come up so you’ll know whether you can really spare it, or if there’s a conflict.
Here are some items under $100 that I’ve received on previous holidays, and they’ve become a valuable part of my daily life. Of course, you should consider who you’re buying for and their interests.
Kindle. I love my eReader and use it every day. I prefer the regular Kindle for “distraction free reading,” but I also have a Kindle Fire (you can get the older models for cheaper), and it’s a great tablet if you don’t want to break the bank on an iPad. Don’t forget to get a case to go with it.
Rocketbook. I got this reusable notebook last year, and it’s awesome! It’s been great for everything from writing notes, to making lists, to journaling. If you know somebody who loves journals and notebooks, then this gift is a winner. Don’t forget to buy them a case for this one as well.
Electric Toothbrush. Trust me, they’ll love it once they start using it, especially when their dentist visits are easier. I’ve had one for a few years, and it’s great. It might not seem like a “knock their socks off” gift, but it will quickly become part of their daily life.
Cardigan Sweaters. These are great when you need to dress in layers for cold mornings and nights, and warmer afternoons. They also look nice and can “dress up” any outfit.
Cordless Vacuum. I’ll confess that this is a gift I bought for myself, and I use it daily. It’s awesome! It makes cleaning your floor quick and easy. Again, this might not be a “knock your socks off” gift at first, but it becomes a part of daily life quickly.
Crock Pot. There’s much ado about Instant Pots, but sometimes slower is better. Crock pots are great for people who work full time because you can put the ingredients in it before you leave for work, and dinner is done when you get home. You can’t beat that!
Lanterns. These are beautiful, unique decorations that light up any room, and some even come with a music box. It’s a lovely accent for any room, and you may even be able to leave them up beyond the holiday season, depending on what you get.
Cordless chargers, charging stands, or charging banks. A great gift for people who love their devices and use them daily. All batteries need charging, so it makes sense to make charging easier and more organized.
External Hard Drive. These are great for people who love their computers and need more storage for files or memory expansion. Sure Cloud storage is good, but that’s limited and they charge for it sometimes. This drive is personal, offline, and secure.
Wireless Earbuds or Noise Cancelling Earphones. I don’t use these myself, but I know a lot of people who love their music and swear by them.
A gift basket of their favorite things. If all else fails, buy a gift basket or bag and fill it with little things they love: snacks, books or magazines, $10 gift cards to their favorite restaurants or stores, supplies for a beloved interest or hobby (like flash drives for tech lovers, workout items for the exercise lover, beads or other supplies for the person who loves crafting, etc), shower gels or moisturizers, chap stick or lip gloss, make up kits, etc.
So there you have it: holiday gift advice and ideas for 2021. I hope this is helpful in kicking off your holiday season. Be sure to share your own inspiration and ideas in your blog or on social media to help others through the challenge of supply chain issues and tight finances.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.