The holidays are around the corner and so are the stores you will be shopping at. There are the sneakers you have to add to that library of sneakers you already have, a toy that runs on batteries and the attention span of your developing children, and of course the greatest gift of all, cash money in the form of gift cards.
Holiday shopping sells you love and happiness that you simply cannot buy. Shoppers want to fulfill their list of gifts but forget that the holiday spirit suffers in more ways than one.
1. The ideal gift.
Buying "the gift that keeps on giving" is an expectation that will run you ragged. Everyone you gift to has their own likes and dislikes. It can be hard not to give in and just buy everything they are looking for.
Rarely will you find that all-in-one gift but it does not hurt to try. Don't think of it as a compromise. Look at shopping for gifts like the "Stars Wars" franchise. Everyone loves the original trilogy more than they do the prequels; some don't even consider them to be part of the saga.
Three for me and a few for you will change our holiday tune. All for one is no fun and keeps your money on the run.
2. Shopping outside the box.
Spontaneous shopping is close to extinct now. People do not wander in a store anymore and peruse stocked shelves like they were museum pieces. They have a shopping list of what to buy and what not to buy.
Shopping does not have to be a scavenger hunt or a search for the best deal. Online shopping takes the mystery out of shopping in a store. Now you can find out if the item you want is in the store before you get there.
It makes sense if you are after something hard-to-find, but where is the fun in knowing where to go shopping? You don't have to know what you'll buy or the store you'll visit, even if it's for the holidays.
The gifts that are special can surprise you when you drift long enough in a store.
3. Early bird deals.
If you thought Halloween was a horror show, just wait until Black Friday. The only thing worth saying about stores opening early for price cuts and seasonal sales is that they are for the birds.
People have missed Thanksgiving just to buy the new iPhone that is somehow different from the one less than a year old. It is unbelievable what people will buy after waiting outside a store for days, even weeks.
It's the reverse poor man's version of shopping on a budget, only it's not for anything important like food and water. Admit that you can't afford the regular price for that toaster oven that can do your taxes and walk in the next day like a gentleman when you can buy it without turning into a horde of window shoppers.
The only thing worse than being disappointed with a gift is regifting that same gift to someone else. I'm not talking about the socks you got out of your stocking stuffer. I'm talking about the vacuum cleaner you know you didn't care for when you got it.
So what makes you think someone else wants it let alone needs it? Regifting pays less attention thinking about giving the person a meaningful gift and more about getting rid of something you think is less than a gift.
Consider donating or putting more thought into someone who might want your gift instead. Don't just be resourceful, be meaningful.
5. Shopping can be an excuse for caring.
Buying gifts that show you care is one thing but buying gifts out of pity or to reconcile differences is like carrying baggage. It's like having a scrapbook of every bad day you've had so far.
Bad memories are not something you want to be reminded of and a gift shouldn't be a remedy. The solution is to forgive but also to show you care in more ways than one.
Offer to pitch in with errands, spend the day with that person, do what is right and what is right by them.
This holiday season will be busier than the last, but to make sure it is happier than the last, remember one thing. The best gifts are something you can't buy.