Making A List - And Checking it Twice
Most smart and prepared moms are done shopping by the first few weeks of November, but I know that I'm not, and I know that you are probably getting started with planning for the holidays.
I do believe that some tips will help you plan:
1) Choose a Green and Local Alternative.
There are plenty of options for you to purchase sustainable, natural, eco-friendly, organic, and fair trade products. When you also choose to shop local, you keep money circulating in your local economy. No need to visit a big box store when you have artisan markets and local vendors you can choose to support.
2) Set your budget.
No one needs a lot of excess plastic junk. What we do all need is a sense of love and belonging, happiness in our daily life, and the support of people around us. If you have a budget for holiday shopping, then set it - you can go with a per-person amount or a total amount for all purchases.
3) Create a list.
Make it easier for yourself by listing out everyone who you're thinking of shopping for this year. Kids, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews will probably take priority so consider getting a collection of stocking stuffers, healthy snacks, and fun supplies they can use throughout the year.
4) Stick to your budget!
Avoid temptation - once you set your list into place, keep your spending in check. Shop for deals by looking online - you can find great recommendations or answers about specific products by looking for Savings.com deals.
5) Make homemade gifts this year.
I always recommend doing this with younger children, as they feel very involved in the process and can make a special gift for their loves ones including parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents and other elders. Ideas for what we've made in the past: homemade cookies and muffins, homemade candles, homemade bath salts, decorated paperweights made out of smooth stones, jewelry (you can make your own baked dough for children), and drawings or paintings.
6) Avoid credit cards.
No one wants to start the new year burdened by credit card debt from the holiday shopping. Consider how much you can spend and do it in cash, if possible. It will be easier for you to say "no" if you get to the counter and realize you don't have enough.
Don't believe the hype of hyper-consumption. We are celebrating the end of the year and the love and community of those around us. We don't need to do this through buying stuff, merely by sharing tokens of appreciation with our loved ones.
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/futurilla/5363599563/sizes/m/in/photostream/