Your Fall Guide to a Shopping Free December
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What if you could create a December to remember that didn’t include shopping? That’s right, no Christmas shopping during the busiest shopping season. Think you could take the Fall challenge and get it all done before midnight on December 1?
Below we’ve curated some gift ideas and built a monthly guide for you to create a more meaningful, present Christmas season for you and your family.
September: Take Note, Set Intention
Start by setting your intention for the Christmas season. Some questions you can ask yourself:
- What do I really want for my family during this time?
- What did I NOT like about last December?
- What do I definitely want to repeat this year?
Define your intention and see your motivation soar. Start with a free-writing exercise while you’re watching TV or waiting on a doctor appointment using your phone’s notes app.
First, write down everyone in your life you need to purchase a gift for. Then, begin jotting down notes of anything they’ve mentioned enjoying, wanting or needing in the last month or so. As ideas come to mind, write them down. As you work on your list and think about budget, don’t forget to include things like tape, bows, gift bags, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, postage, etc.
Then, review what you spent last year and look back at your gift list. You may discover you already have a starting list of things for some of your family members that you decided against last year.
Look at your Signet Christmas Savings Account total, or decide now what your total Christmas budget will be.
Then, you can start researching prices and deciding what’s on your purchase list vs. what isn’t possible this year. If you usually begin a cycle of debt every Christmas, then check out this article written just for you. It’s hard to break the cycle without the right tools and mindset, but we are here to help.
October: Ready, set, shop!
No, you may not be hitting the black Friday deals, but remember your intention.
You may have decided you wanted a stress-free Christmas. Or maybe you decided you wanted to have everything purchased before Thanksgiving. Or maybe you are focused on spending as much quality time with your family as possible. Whatever your intention, let it continue to be your motivation as you move forward.
Three guidelines to remember as you choose gifts:
- Think local first.
This isn’t only because local businesses need our support, but this also instantly says to a friend or family member that you’ve been paying attention. You know your best friend loves that specific drink at the local coffee shop. You know your spouse is always looking for the next comic series to start. You know your daughter thinks learning ballet instantly makes her a princess. Think about those in your life you want to show a little love and then how you might also show a local business a little love too.
- Give someone the opportunity to splurge on themselves.
Practicality can wait for another day. Everyone has bills to pay and everyone needs to eat dinner, but try to think of ways to gift something to make an ordinary winter day something special. Especially if there’s a new mom or dad in your life. It’s hard for them to not spend all of their money and time on baby. With even a simple gift, you can remind them to take care of themselves and their relationship.
- Running out of ideas? Personalize it.
Maybe they already own it, but monogramming the same type of item with their initials makes it instantly more special. Or, take a simple gift (bag of gourmet popcorn, two movie tickets, coffee mug with their favorite coffee beans inside) and attach a heartfelt card.
Gift ideas to get you started:
- For a couple/spouse: Date night stocking with gift cards to a local restaurant, concert, bowling, movies, etc.
- Baby: Put most of your budget into savings with just a few small toys or things they need under the tree.
- Anyone: School pride t-shirt or sweatshirt (your child’s school or maybe your spouse’s alma mater)
- Anyone: Gift experiences. This could be a simple friend date to the movies, a big family trip planned for next summer, or even a board game for the whole family to play.
- Anyone: Encourage their hobby. Pay close attention to what they have and what they want to enhance their setup. Guitar player? Maybe new strings or a better guitar strap. Painter? New brush set or blank canvases. Photographer? Camera strap or gift card to their favorite printer.
- Coworkers/Friends: Even a simple note of appreciation with their favorite drink or candy attached can go a long way. Or, put together a family gift basket with a game and snacks. Grab a few extras to keep as hostess gifts or if a new coworker starts before the end of the year.
If you’re on a tight budget this year, then check out this list of gift ideas!
November: Check it twice!
First, you may think… “Don’t forget Thanksgiving!” And don’t worry, we haven’t. Here’s even a great list of dishes to try this year that will wow guests without devastating your budget.
Now, back to Christmas prep: You’ve been shopping, but it always seems like there’s something you’re forgetting. Check your Christmas shopping list twice as you finish up buying the big gift items.
Maybe the tree isn’t even out of the attic yet, but you can start wrapping gifts and working on Christmas cards. When you decorate for Christmas, you’ll already have presents to put under the tree and cards to put in the mail.
Can you imagine your dining room table being decorated with real Christmas decor and not tape, wrapping paper, scissors, receipts and gift tags? The elimination of that clutter alone as you begin December will help lower your stress levels like never before!
December: Breathe. Enjoy.
Now fun games, movie nights, Christmas caroling and more can consume your December! You can be present in the moments that lead up to the night of Santa’s big appearance. As school parties, church plays and family get-togethers fill up the month, you’ll be less stressed knowing gifts are all purchased and wrapped, ready for the big day.
Many times we try to make Christmastime more complicated than it needs to be.
Is your gift given out of love?
Did you think of this person as you picked out their gift?
Forget about the price tag (unless it’s over budget!). Forget about the size or the number of gifts. Focus on the time spent and the love you are showing in the best way you know how. Your Fall preparations will build a December to truly remember.
If you’re ready to get started for NEXT Christmas, then start a Signet Christmas Savings Account. It helps you automatically save money throughout the year so you know exactly what your Christmas Budget is every October. It’s the ultimate first step in having a stress-free Christmas season.