Tuesday, October 21, 2008

31 Things to do before Christmas – Be the early bird

(This is #12 of 31 in the 31 Things to do series)

Be the Early Bird

I have a friend who is done with her Christmas shopping by October every year. How does she do it?

She buys stuff all year long.

She makes stuff all year long.

For those of us who are not that forward thinking or who have enough on our plate trying to survive from month to month, there is still hope, even if you haven't even started your shopping by October. What is really considered "early" anyway? To me early is being done by October, like my friend. Normal is like most of the rest of us. Late is shopping on Christmas Eve.

But if you can pull it off, being the early bird is the way to go. My friend buys stuff on clearance throughout the year. She buys sweaters and coats when everyone else is buying bathing suits, therefore she rakes in the deals and saves a ton of money. She is less stressed around the holidays while everyone else is running around looking for the perfect gift, from place to place. She has more time to really enjoy the holidays (imagine that). Because she starts so early, she has plenty of time to make good quality homemade items, saving her a lot of money and giving gifts with a more personal touch to boot. She's made wonderful personalized blankets, quilts, even home made dolls for gifts.

She plans ahead and takes the time to learn a new hobby during the year and use that skill to make gifts, she does this a lot.

And she saves a lot of money, did you get that part?

So what does it take? Well it goes back to what I've been saying over and over again in this series.... it's all in the planning. You have to make yourself do this stuff. There will always be something else that comes up to take your time and money, but guess what, Christmas is coming too. And the good thing about Christmas unlike other things in your life, is that you KNOW when it's coming.

Lay-aways if you can find them, are an early bird's friend. They are a big help because you can select your merchandise before everything is all picked over, and you don't have to come up with all of the cash at once. It's a win-win.

Also if you are even a little bit crafty or creative, if you start early, you can put together really nice gifts very cheaply.

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