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Snappy Holiday Shopping Tips

December 22, 2016

One of the most stressful tasks of the holidays is shopping. While there are many stressors, two of the key triggers are “mall mania” and staying on a budget.

“Mall mania” refers to the stress that comes from waiting in line and fighting the crowds during this busy retail season. Most of us just don’t have enough time or patience to handle this added drama during the holidays. And, of course, staying on budget and avoiding impulse buys can also be a struggle.

Listed below are some gift ideas for people who are on a tight budget and a tight schedule.

  1. Gifts online or by catalog. You can shop on your computer or from a catalog in the comfort of your home or office. Many retailers offer free shipping and discounts, so be sure to check coupon sites such as RetailMeNot for special deals. For catalog browsers, order your gifts online!
  2. Gift certificates. You can get gift certificates for almost everything these days. You can purchase one for a restaurant, shop, movies, or even babysitting. Check out Costco for discounts on great restaurants and show tickets. These gift certificates are usually 20 percent off face value!
  3. Tickets. You can purchase tickets online in advance from Ticket Alternative for concerts, sports events, or the theater.
  4. Food.  You can cook or bake very simple recipes for inexpensive, yet meaningful gifts. Homemade brownies, cookies, and cakes are delicious and always welcomed.
  5. Photographs. Old photographs make a beautiful gift. Go through old photos of loved ones. You can put them on a wooden box and shellac the box, creating a memory box. as a gift. Use the old photographs to create a special holiday card or copy the photo and put in a nice frame for a meaningful gift.
  6. Spa day. Give your family or friend the gift of relaxation with a spa gift certificate. Who doesn’t enjoy a massage, reflexology, facial, manicure, or a pedicure? While you’re at it, consider buying a certificate for yourself as well.
  7. Give to charity. If you need a gift for an activist friend, consider giving a charitable donation in the name of the recipient. You can give money to a charity that they love, such as the Humane Society, American Cancer Association, American Heart Association, or UNICEF. But before you give your donation, be sure to visit Charity Navigator to see how the charity is rated.

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