A few days ago, we heard that we only have 100 days until the year is over. I would assume that there are only more or less twelve weeks until Christmas and the daze of the holiday season, less than that. While most of us might not be feeling it yet, it helps if we get into the zone and start preparing for the holiday, whether we like it or not. We end up enjoying the season and having regrets of not being prepared for it all the time, so might as well force ourselves to prepare for it.

And what do we mean by preparing? Physically, we might want to prepare ourselves for the onslaught of dinner parties and get-togethers so we might need to lose a few pounds so we don’t end up putting on so much weight after. Emotionally and mentally, we might want to prepare ourselves for the holiday reunions we might feel overwhelmed and obligated to attend. It needs a preparatory mindset to be able to cordially and civilly meet with people you only see during Christmas time. Financially, we might need to start setting aside our budget for gift shopping. We all give gifts out during the holidays – it’s really the season of giving and cheer. The usual problem is being able to find a nice gift with a limited budget. The budget aspect is something we always can solve by saving ahead early.

1. Preparing a holiday gift list is a must. It saves you the time and additional expense when you have a list ready before going out shopping.

2. Some set a budget limit before drafting up a list. Some are already constrained by a working budget – especially ones who are banking on Christmas bonuses for their holiday shopping. While it is ideal to buy gifts without any price limit, it is not practical – even if you have the money for it.

3. Assign a budget for each person in your list. You can have a bigger budget for your immediate family, or children – but be fair. Have a uniformed budget for each kid – no exceptions. You can then assign a blanket budget for other people in your list that don’t necessarily need or expect a gift but you would like to give them little tokens – your officemates, school co-parents, teachers, etc.

4. Be creative when it comes to thinking of gift ideas yet practical. Sometimes the most thoughtful and appreciated gifts are the ones recipients actually use over and over again but don’t get to buy for themselves that often. For example, your officemates might appreciate if they have backrest support cushions for their chairs at work – but they don’t necessarily buy it for themselves. Giving it would be practical (and economical on your budget) and they would surely appreciate your for it!

5. Do your shopping online if you can help it. This allows you not to get swayed on the fancy Christmas displays and end up buying items not on your list. If you are specific on what to get, you can subscribe to catalogue shopping sites such as CatalogueSpot. It is easier for you to get all your shopping done at once – then even have next-day door delivery.

The holiday season might feel overwhelming and a bit stressful but you don’t need to feel the stress and overwhelm – just prepare for it. And do it early.

Aggie Aviso