The neighborhood seems brighter and lively now that the series of lights are blinking and the choir from the stereo is singing.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Aside from the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree and sending of cards, what else do most of us do during this season? Shopping! People, especially mothers, flock to shopping malls with a long holiday shopping list on their hands. They walk from one aisle to another to look for the perfect Christmas gift or find the best costume for their children’s Christmas party. If holiday shopping has always been a struggle for you, we have compiled the most effective hacks to help mothers avoid holiday stress.
Holiday Shopping Tips in the New Normal: A Mother’s Guide
We’ve seen reports from various news organizations about the coronavirus pandemic and how it affected our way of living. As of this writing, there are already 64 million COVID cases worldwide, with 41.2 million recoveries and 1.48 million deaths. To lessen the devastating impact of the pandemic, health experts and government officials have implemented various restrictions and rules people must adhere to. That said, holiday shopping for 2020 will be a lot less ordinary. How will this year’s shopping galore differ from the previous years? And how can you deal with it?
1. Set a Budget
What’s holiday shopping without money? Non-existent. You know how important it is to have enough finances in your pocket or sufficient balance in your bank account before you head on to the stores. For this reason, you have to save money as early as possible, especially when you are planning to have a long list of items to buy for the holidays.
Another thing you have to remember when spending for the shopping season is you must not borrow money or withdraw from your savings. It is also best for you to set a spending limit for every gift you buy. Determine the total amount you want to spend on presents first. Then, divide it amongst the people on your list.
When the holiday season is over, trust me, you’ll thank yourself for not falling into the debt trap!
2. Look for Discounts
Stores hold various shopping occasions during the winter holiday season. In the United States, these events, namely Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, run after Thanksgiving. During these occasions, malls, retail stores, and small businesses offer discounts. That is one of the reasons why the majority of the consumers shop on Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, more than 114 million consumers in the United States partake in holiday shopping during Black Friday in 2019, as per data recorded in Statista.
Your expenses must not exceed your budget. And one way to help you with that is to use coupons and keep track of bargains. Huge shopping centers usually advertise the sales they offer on their website or social media accounts, so make sure to check on them. If you know which store offers great deals, you can stockpile the items needed for the holidays—from clothes down to food and decorations. When the competition is tight between stores, they try to offer more discounts than the others. So take advantage of it!
3. List Down Your Favourite People
You may not be Santa, but you are free to create a list of naughty and nice. By that, we mean you have to select the people you are giving presents to. Of course, all of your children will get one. If not, that will make you look like you have your favorites. But what about your other relatives and friends? Should you buy presents for all of them as well? Take a look at your budget and calculate the number of people you can give gifts to. These people will understand that due to the economic impact of the pandemic, some don’t have a lot of money to spend.
After completing your list, write down the items you plan to buy for them and their estimated prices. It is also important to take note of other things you have to buy for the holidays, like clothing and ingredients for the upcoming feast. Planning and organisation always help reduce holiday shopping stress. When you already know what to buy, shopping will be more efficient, and you won’t waste time wandering in stores with no idea what you’re looking for.
4. Know Your Trip
To protect yourself from the threat of the virus, you need to avoid having lengthy shopping trips. That is why you have to determine which particular stores or aisles you will stop by to buy a particular item on your shopping list. And you wouldn’t want to go back and forth, right? Therefore, make sure to map out your way from the first store to the last. If you plan to bring your child with you, know which part of the mall you can take a break in case you or your kid gets tired from shopping.
5. Avoid the Traffic
You know how vehicular traffic can kill your time. While you are in the middle of the road, you start to think that these long hours can be used to do something more productive. The best way to deal with it is to avoid traveling during peak travel times, especially on a Friday afternoon. Moreover, it will be best if you stay at home on Saturdays to avoid the crowd and the busy streets.
If you are a working mom who is on a Christmas break, going to the mall early in the morning during a weekday is ideal. This way, you have more freedom to go in and out of the shops, and you can find the right parking spot before anyone else does.
6. Shop Now
Talking about avoiding large crowds, never resort to last-minute holiday shopping if you can. As we get closer to the actual holiday, more people also go to shopping centers, trying to check off everything from their list.
While most consumers start their holiday shopping on Black Friday during the previous years, Forbes reported that 2020 Christmas shopping officially begun in mid-October. Surveys also show that 3 in 10 consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier than the preceding years. So if you haven’t started buying stuff for the holidays yet, create your list, and head to your favorite store now! Don’t wait until the shops get crowded. Staying socially distant from people will keep you safe.
When shopping, make sure to follow the safety guidelines implemented in your area.
7. Go Online
Technology has reinvented the way we live our lives, and that includes shopping. There’s one solution to avoiding crowds and traffic altogether: do your holiday shopping online. With this, all you have to do is to turn on your digital device, connect to the internet, and after a few scrolls and clicks, you’re done! Shopping online allows you to take a look into multiple shops and browse thousands of products without having to let your feet leave the ground. Don’t worry! Online stores also give you discounts, and some even offer free shipping once you reach the price they set.
8. Take Note of the Delivery Time
While adding your selected items to the cart is quicker online, you have to wait for days, or in some cases, weeks, to have the thing you ordered on your hands. For this reason, it is crucial to consider the delivery time when online shopping, as many people also rely on this platform to buy gifts for their loved ones. When possible, start placing your orders as early as the last week of October or early November.
According to an article from the Associated Press, an analysis of the shipping package data by Ship Matrix’s president, Satish Jindel, shows that there may be 7 million delayed packages on the span of Thanksgiving through Christmas. Furthermore, he predicted that the total shipping capacity would be over 79 million parcels per day during the aforementioned period.
9. Take a Peek at the Social Media
Nowadays, most people check their social media accounts every day. So when you’re looking for the best Christmas gift ideas, social media is the way to go. Your teenagers, friends, and other family members may leave hints of the things they want through their social media posts or recent likes. This way, you won’t think too much about whether or not the recipient of the gift will like it.
10. Support Small Businesses
And for our last Christmas shopping tip: support local. Small businesses open opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs and create meaningful jobs in the community, which provides a greater level of satisfaction. Aside from helping stimulate your local economy, you will also find unique items for the holidays when you buy from small businesses. Why? Because these local businesses tailor their products based on their personal interests and the needs of the people in the locality.
Of all the things we want to do for the holidays, shopping will never be the last one on the list. This is the time when consumers are more than willing to spend for themselves and the people they love. In fact, recent data from Statista showed that consumers in the United States are most likely to spend about 850 US dollars on Christmas gifts alone. How much do you think you will spend this year?