The cold air has permeated the environment, with festive decors and bright twinkling lights displayed around town. Ho, ho, ho! It’s finally the season to be jolly. You’ve seen your loved ones lists and you’ve checked them all twice. They’ve all not been naughty and have played it nice. Now, it is time for you to beat the holiday rush and buy them those presents that they have set their hearts on.
However, not everyone has been gifted with time to peruse the aisles for those gifts. Christmas also happens to be a rush season in businesses, so those of you who are working may be in a hurry to fill in those pressing holiday orders, serve more clients, and beat annual deadlines. Here are 15 easy ways to help you shop for gifts this Christmas. Following these tips will lessen the time you spend on making all the wishes in those Christmas lists come true. Let’s get started, so you can play Santa on Christmas Day:
1. Shop Early at Traditional Brick and Mortar Stores
Contrary to popular belief, shopping at traditional brick and mortar stores is one of the easiest methods for buying gifts. However, the key here is do it at the right time. You need to make sure that you do this way ahead of time to avoid holiday crowds.
The nice thing about shopping in stores is that you get the chance to peruse the actual merchandise before buying it. Through this time and tested method, you get to see, inspect, and check what you’re buying so there are no disappointments. Classic department stores like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, or Neiman Marcus carry a broad range of products to suit various needs of their clientele. Check out their various department store gift guides for the seasons must-haves.
The best part about going this route is the free gift-wrapping services they provide. That alone is huge savings for you in terms of money and time. No more buying gift wrappers and no more wasting time on wrapping gifts, which really is a time consuming process that often leads to an aching back, sore hands, and painful fingers.
2. Beat Online Delays by Ordering Ahead
Another easy method that will save you time and curb your gas expenditure is shopping online. The key to doing this is ordering ahead of time, so you are sure to beat any shipping delays. The Christmas rush will often result in problems with the forwarding company due to the volume of their orders. If you wait until the very last minute, there is a grave danger that you gift will not arrive on time.
One of the perks of ordering online is you can peruse their catalogs at the comfort of your own home. If you’re looking for unique gift ideas, you can find them on the world wide web with ease. There are even reviews and testimonials, so you can weigh your choices. For unique gift ideas checkout: the UncommonGoods site, where the store name alone speaks for itself.
3. Explore the Delights at a Farmers Market
A farmer’s market is a great and easy way to find unique gift products that you know are one hundred percent fresh. There are actually many benefits of shopping in a farmers market. Aside from just buying fresh fruits and veggies in season, local farmers have been known to sell their organic produce, which they themselves can into jams, spreads, and preserves. Think raspberry jams, sun-dried tomatoes, blueberry preserves, and the like. All of these will make great gifts for your foodie friends.
On top of that, farmers markets have been known to also sell organic grass fed beef and premium dairy products. Some even sell their locally crafted honey. Aside from getting these products in their raw form you can enjoy them when they are made into milk moisturizers, honey infused soaps, and the like. Exploring your farmers market is not just an easy way to buy gifts, it is also one of the most responsible ways to shop. Remember this: supporting local farmers keeps the money you spend closer to your neighborhood, to real people that actually need it and not just for corporations.
4. Try Out Artisanal Food and Beverage Products
Ordering unique artisanal products is another easy way to shop for Christmas gifts. These products encompass breads, cheeses, preserves, cured meats, oils, vinegars, wines and more, crafted by food and beverage artisans using traditional hand methods. Any of your family and friends will surely enjoy getting these types of gift baskets, like these huge artisanal gourmet baskets from the World Food Market.
With this method, you are sure that you’re giving a high quality gift that can be enjoyed by your recipients during their Christmas dinner or even their New Year’s Eve Party. On top of that, you give business to local artisans who need your support. Like the previous category, this is so much better than just funding corporations, where CEOs get rich but not their rank and file workers.
5. Commission a Unique Drawing
Nothing is easier than commissioning a unique drawing if you plan this ahead of time. This very personal approach will surely be loved by your intended recipient. You can have a caricature of their faces drawn with markers and just place this in a nice picture frame. You can have a family painting drawn in charcoal. If you really know your friend, then have a painting made with her favorite theme or you can opt for an abstract painting.
If you don’t have time, then you can peruse art galleries or online reprinting sites to have your friend’s favorite artwork printed. Don’t fancy putting them in a frame? You can give them in a protective tube roll, roll them up, place inside, and tie with a bow, and voila – your Christmas gift is ready.
6. Go with Personalized Gifts
Everyone loves personalized gifts. This is easy because you don’t have to do it yourself. You can outsource the work and order directly from companies like Things Remembered. Above the usual embroidered kitchen towels, engraved pens, and monogrammed pillows, you can also opt for more modern personalized products like a picture mug, a photo printed bedsheet and the like.
Another unique and easy personalized gift idea: throw in a photo session voucher for your friend’s family to enjoy. Personalized items are well loved because people are naturally incline to be attracted to things that pertain to themselves and their loved ones.
7. Say It with Flowers
If you are super pressed for time this holiday season, then spread your holiday cheer with a bouquet of flowers. Nothing can be simpler than ordering from your favorite florist. To kick things up a notch, you can opt to put these floral beauties in unique containers. Think of placing them in an antique Chinese vase, a porcelain water jug, a gardening canister, a pretty tea set, and even a milk jug. All of these containers can be reused by your intended recipient.
8. Opt for Eye-catching Edible Arrangements
If you have a loved one who is allergic to flowers, then you can give them edible arrangements instead of a floral arrangement for Christmas. If they love chocolates, you can give them a bouquet of varied chocolate bars, just as candy lovers can be given a lollipop arrangement. Do they prefer fruits? Then a unique fruit-qet or a fruit bouquet is the way to go.
9. Order Custom Clothes
If you happen to be very close to someone and you know their measurements, then gift them something unique like custom made clothes. Contrary to popular belief, this method is not hard nor expensive. You just need to make sure you give the exact measurements, tell them your preferences, and of course, order ahead of time. Examples of custom clothes are blazers, dresses, and personalized shirts.
10. Consider Handcrafted Accessories
The online arena called Etsy is a goldmine of handcrafted accessories. From layering necklaces, earrings, rings, bangles, to anklets, they have it all there in a broad range of colors, themes, and materials. Just peruse the site and pick the one you think will suit your friend’s taste. The best thing about doing this is that they offer Christmas gift wrapping services, so you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to give it once you receive the items.
11. Never Underestimate the Power of Kid-Made Stuff
If you have children, the easiest and cheapest method is to have them make gift items for your close family. Think of hand drawn family portraits for grand parents encased in store bought picture frames that they would love. You can even have your children make them handcrafted picture frames. Just buy a normal one in a store and have your kids DIY design it by sticking stones, shells, or sequins on it. They can let their imaginations run wild and decorate these to their heart’s desires.
12. Leverage Heirloom Mementos
Sometimes the easiest and best shopping you will ever do is right in your own closet. Yes, heirloom family items have more sentimental value than store bought material stuff. You can have a pearl brooch, a handmade shawl, an old family engraved fountain pen, or diamond earrings that you may want to pass onto your children or a best friend.
The key is to jazz up the presentation to make this old item seem like new again. For instance, you can put the jewelry in a nice store bought jewelry box, you can give the fountain pen in a leather embossed pencil case, or you can give the shawl in a nice velvet pouch. You can play around with the wrapping too, because sometimes it’s not just about the gifts, but also how they are presented.
There is just something charming about gifting a vintage family heirloom that has a lot of history attached to it. You are not just giving an intangible thing, you are giving a piece of your family’s past. The best thing about this is they can pass it down to the next generation. What can be more thoughtful and heartwarming than a Christmas present like that?
13. Give a Generous Subscription
A gift that will keep on giving your loved ones something all year round is a subscription. Think way beyond the usual magazine subscription. These days, you can sign them up for subscription to a healthy food distributor that will send them a meal kit once a month, so they can play around with different recipes. There are also unique subscriptions like those Japanese treat boxes that come ones a month filled with themed treats from Japan.
Apart from food, there are gift set boxes they can receive every month filled with their favorite beauty products like skincare and makeup. Make this a gift for your close friend or your family member and they will surely love it. The best part is you will cross their minds at least once a month when the products get delivered to their doorstep.
14. Quench the Thirst of Knowledge for Books Lovers
Books are another super easy gift to give because you don’t have to worry if your chosen Christmas gift will fit your recipient of if they will like the style. In general, inspirational books are very well-received by everyone. You can easily get this in Barnes and Noble if you have the time to actually look through a brick and mortar store. If you need to make things even easier, then you can buy an e-book online and give the link to your family or friend. No more wrapping needed, but the thought is still right there.
15. Nothing Can Be Easier Than Gift Cards
Of course if all else fails and you really can’t think of anything to buy, then just get your friend or family members gift cards. Everyone welcomes gift cards from Amazon or the iTunes store. With this, you are able to give the gift of choice. What you can do to make this more interesting is spice up how you present the gift card.
Rather than just handing them out in their usual boring card, you can present them with a new small calendar they can use on their stove top or you can put them in an actual coin purse, because the majority appreciate those little pouches that are great for organizing stuff. There is just something nice about artfully wrapped packages. It makes them so much more exciting to receive. So make the effort and jazz up those gift cards.
As you can see, there are several different, easy, and unique ways to shop for your Christmas presents. Your holidays don’t have to be a holidaze. Avoid all the stress by planning ahead, double-checking that list, and starting out way ahead of the “last-minute” pack. Christmas is, after all, really the most wonderful time of the year.