1. Learn more about them
You might be surprised by the wide variety of shops in your area. Find out more about what each store carries to spark gift ideas and make your holiday shopping a breeze. Certain places even offer custom creations, allowing you to give your loved ones unique presents.
2. Start shopping early
The longer you wait to do your holiday shopping, the more tempting it is to purchase last-minute gifts from large online retailers that offer rapid delivery. If you want to support local businesses, avoid lineups and keep your stress to a minimum, start early. This also ensures everything you’re looking for is still in stock.
3. Send one-of-a-kind cards
If you want to send out cards to let your friends and relatives know you’re thinking about them over the holiday season, see if any artists or boutiques in your area sell handmade cards. These handcrafted works of art will look beautiful on a mantel, and they may even feature depictions of local landmarks.
4. Decorate with handmade items
When it comes time to decorate your home for the holidays, deck the halls with locally sourced creations. From wreaths and garlands to Christmas tree ornaments and stained-glass window hangings, the artists in your area are sure to offer handcrafted pieces that’ll imbue your home with the spirit of the season.
5. Buy from festival vendors
Does your community host Christmas markets, parades, or outdoor performances during the holiday season? These present a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, so make the most of visiting them. Buy a round of hot chocolate for your friends, treat your kids to seasonal snacks or surprise your partner with a little something from one of the stalls.
6. Update your wardrobe for parties
A new outfit will help you put your best foot forward at your upcoming holiday office party or New Year’s Eve bash. The staff at your local stores can help you put together a look from head to toe. You may also want to keep an eye out for the perfect ugly Christmas sweater or matching pajamas for the whole family.
7. Build your own gift baskets
If you’re short on inspiration, gift baskets make ideal offerings for co-workers, housekeepers, personal trainers, and your child’s teacher or babysitter. Many stores have a selection of pre-made baskets, or you can build your own with an assortment of locally sourced jams, soaps, teas, scented candles, chocolates, wine, and more.
8. Treat yourself to a meal out
Indulge in the magic of the season with a night out at a restaurant. This can be a great way to take a break from all the cooking and cleanup that comes with hosting holiday celebrations. Plus, many establishments have live music, special menus, and seasonal cocktails during this time of year to mark the occasion.
9. Remember to tip generously
‘Tis the season to give, and one way to show your appreciation is by leaving a generous tip for the people who help make the holidays special. This may include the staff at a restaurant, hairdresser, or beauty salon, as well as an employee who offers to wrap your gifts or helps you strap your Christmas tree to the car.
10. Keep it local when you buy online
Shopping online is a convenient way to quickly check items off your gift list (not to mention avoid crowded stores). Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between convenience and supporting local merchants. Many of the stores in your area have websites where you can buy what you need from the comfort of your couch.
11. Opt for gift cards over cash
Some people are harder to shop for than others. If you want to leave the choice up to them, consider offering a gift card rather than money. Not only will this guarantee the cash goes toward a local business, but a gift card is more personal as it shows that you took the time to select a store based on the person’s interests.
12. Cook with local ingredients
Whether you’re planning an elaborate Christmas dinner, preparing your contribution for a holiday potluck, or looking for the perfect hostess gift, you’ll get nothing but the best from regional producers. Visit the markets and shops in your area for everything from artisanal cheeses and pastries to seasonal produce and craft liquor.
Gift-wrapping tips and ideas
Once you’ve finished buying all your Christmas presents, it’s time to start wrapping them. Here are some tips and ideas to make your holiday gift-wrapping a success.
Use quality wrap
Gift wrap that’s too thin will not only tear when you handle it but may also be see-through. Choose sturdy paper that’s sufficiently thick but still easy to fold. To decorate the package, use strips of ribbon that can be either curled with scissors or tied into a pretty bow.
Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that can be used to cover gifts. This gift-wrapping option has environmental benefits because the cloth can be reused. Plus, you can wrap and unwrap the gift as many times as you need to achieve the perfect presentation.
Whatever type of wrap you opt to use, you can visit your local craft store to find the materials you need. However, if you aren’t confident in your gift-wrapping abilities, consider relying on charities in your community that offer gift-wrapping services during the holiday season.
Gift ideas for minimalists
Finding the right Christmas present for a minimalist can be a challenge. Here are a few clutter-free gift ideas that could be a great fit.
A service or activity
Offering to do housework, babysit or cook a meal for the minimalist in your life is a great way to show you care. Alternatively, tickets to a live show or a local event are gifts that won’t take up any space.
A monthly subscription
Consider giving your loved one a subscription to online music or television service or a digital publication that’s in line with their interests. Some companies also offer monthly subscription boxes that contain things like snacks, alcohol, and body care products. Since these products are consumable, they’ll only take up space temporarily.
A practical item
You may want to consider giving the minimalist in your life a gift that’s useful in some way, especially if you know what they need. For example, a backpack, reusable straw, or reusable hygiene products are all suitable options. However, make sure to choose quality products that’ll stand the test of time.
For more ideas, visit the businesses in your area.
4 gift ideas for foodies
Is there someone on your holiday shopping list who’s a foodie? Are you looking for a gift that’ll satisfy both their taste buds and passion for cooking? If so, here are four ideas to inspire you.
1. Reusable accessories. Consider offering your foodie reusable coffee filters, produce bags, pastry bags, muffin tins, or other items that will help them enjoy and preserve their kitchen creations.
2. Cooking classes. Whether online or in-person, a cooking class is a great way for the foodie in your life to discover new dishes and learn an array of culinary techniques.
3. Food subscriptions. If your loved one is a coffee, candy, or chocolate connoisseur, consider buying them a themed subscription box. Alternatively, you may want to gift them a basket of fresh produce and local foods to spark their creativity.
4. Artisanal products. Curating a custom gift basket that includes regional delicacies such as hot sauces, cheeses, wines, and oils is a great way to inspire your loved one to cook using local ingredients.
Keep an eye out for products, services, and activities in your region for further ways to satisfy the epicurean on your shopping list.
Holiday shopping survival guide
Do you dread the thought of navigating crowded stores, busy parking lots, and long checkout lines? Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience less of an ordeal.
Go at the right time
There’s no doubt that weekends are a prime time for shopping, especially Saturdays. If possible, head to stores on a weekday or first thing in the morning. Waiting until the last minute will also mean con¬tending with crowds. Keep in mind that many navigation apps allow you to see how busy a particular location is at a given time.
Know what you want
To limit the amount of time you spend in stores, make a list and browse local retailers’ websites before you visit in person. This will ensure you know exactly where to go to get the best deals. Of course, you can also stick to shopping online, so long as you leave enough time for your packages to arrive before the holidays.
If you’re not a fan of shopping in general, you’ll want to ensure the experience isn’t any more unbearable than it needs to be. Among other things, you should:
• Dress in comfortable layers, and wear appropriate walking shoes
• Leave your car at home, if possible, to avoid searching for a parking spot
• Refrain from shopping with people who are indecisive
• Buy heavy items last so you don’t have to lug them around
Finally, depending on what would cause you the least amount of stress, you can either plan several short trips or aim to get all your shopping done at once.
Lists are not just for Santa!
The holiday season is often accompanied by worries about not being ready in time. As the festive season is approaching fast, here is a list for those in charge of organizing Christmas. It will help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
1. Establish your budget. This is always a good starting point. It feels awful to regret all your spending once the holidays are past.
2. Create checklists. Plan your menus, gifts, indoor and outdoor decorations, and schedule your beauty appointments well in advance.
3. Set your tasks. Each of the previous lists brings its own share of things to do, so it’s important to list them clearly along with a time frame in which to do them.
4. Spread out the tasks. Note on a calendar or in your smartphone agenda all things to do each day, as this will give you a better overview. It will also be easier to add an item to the list or delete completed tasks (yay!), so that you don’t forget anything.
5. Delegate. Some tasks can even be assigned to the children. You’ll be surprised at their creativity!
6. Get organized in advance. Some things can be done well before Christmas. Think about preparing any make-ahead dishes that can be frozen until the party or Christmas dinner. Doing this will allow you to relax a bit during the party!
7. Buy your gifts before the last-minute rush. Shopping on December 23 is just an invitation to stress. So start shopping in late November or early December. If that is truly impossible, bear in mind that shopping malls are less crowded early in the week.
Taking the time to get organized will give you the inspiration to create some unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones this holiday season.
4 great reasons to give gift cards during the holidays
Do you find it stressful to pick out personalized gifts for everyone on your list? Are you unsure whether giving your loved ones gift cards is the right thing to do? If so, here are four reasons offering this type of present may be a good choice for you.
1. There are endless options. From ski lift tickets to spa packages and gourmet meals to clothing stores, it’s easy to find a gift card that suits the interests of the person you want to spoil.
2. You won’t disappoint. Rather than risking buying your loved ones a present, they don’t like, giving them a gift card allows them to choose exactly what they want. This is an especially wise option for gift exchanges.
3. You’ll save time. Gift cards are quick and easy to purchase, and buying them will save you the hassle of walking up and down crowded store aisles. Simply head straight to the checkout. You can even purchase certain gift cards online.
4. You decide the price. You’re in full control of how much money is loaded onto the gift card. That way, you can spend as much or as little as you want, without having to calculate taxes.
Do you think a gift card is too impersonal? Think again! Simply wrap this present in a pretty box and attach a handwritten note to up the wow factor.