Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simplify the Shopping 2010

Now let’s talk about Christmas shopping!!!!!!!! Could shopping possibly be a part of a Simplified Season? You betcha!!! And who doesn’t love shopping? I don’t mean the “sharpen your elbows, Black Friday, 3am” kind of shopping. Although if anyone can turn shopping into a contact sport those ladies sure can! Were you out in that crowd this weekend?

My favorite thing about Christmas shopping is finding that PERFECT gift. The gift that you know that the receiver will open and love.


FIRST - Make a list of everyone for whom you will need to buy gifts.  Include family, friends, neighbors, clients, your child's favorite playmate, service people (school teachers, nursery workers, babysitters, hair dresser, the staff members at an office you frequent regularly, postal worker, barista, whoever!).  Even if the gift is "just" a plate of cookies, jot the person down.  Great!  So, my stress free friend, just by making the list of recipients, you may even get some gift ideas.  Hooray for you!  With just a little advanced planning, you are well on your way to a stress free Christmas Celebration.

SECOND-Think about that list of people you just made. Do you have to buy gifts for people whom you hardly know? Whether it is a brother-in-law or a boss, this can be a daunting task. What are their hobbies, and favorite sports teams?  How do they spend their time? 

There are several sites which offer GIFT FINDERS to help you narrow down a personality, generate ideas for a gift, even purchase the gift.

Are you a parent or a grandparent (or an aunt) looking for toys for the tot in your life?  Try the search features on or for age appropriate toy ideas.

Still no luck finding the gift you seek?  Get a gift card.  Make it personal.  Think about the recipient's tastes on this one.  For example, if the recipient is a luddite, a gift card for an electronic or computer store is probably not the best idea; however a restaurant gift card for that uncle who enjoys fine dining - a gift card to you aunt’s favorite boutique - some movie passes for the college student – a Netflix subscription and a box of microwave popcorn for the new parents - and a bookstore gift card for the reader whose favorite author will be releasing a book past your holiday celebration deadline – all great ideas. Simple pairings make them personal by adding on some simple and inexpensive “tags” - a bag coffee candy (or bag of Starbucks truffles) with a Starbucks card, a bookmark with a book store card, a box of movie candy with the movie card. Now you’re thinking outside of the gift card envelope!!

One more shot… and it’s a good one! 

Think about giving “clutter free” gifts. Instead of just giving one more generic bath set -- know the giftee. Find out if they have a favorite brand or scent and go with that. Novel concept?  You betcha!  Have I stepped on any toes yet?  Probably.  Sorry, we’re simplifying!!!  
Experiential gifts are also a great way to keep the clutter at bay.  For a child: Seasonal Zoo, Water Park, or Theme Park passes really go a long way.  Whether it’s a date for your spouse, or a special day out with your favorite kiddo, even a round of mini golf or a night of pizza and ice cream are a great gift to give.  They cost little, other than time.  They don’t add to the clutter in your home.  They help you create happy memories with someone you love and WANT to spend time with. 

As a family, we love to be generous and give to others, especially during the holidays. We try to Simplify our Season by only purchasing a few gifts for our child. There are things that we would rather spend DOING with him than GIFTING (plastic toys) to him. We usually choose a small gift and a large gift.  I also use this time to set up traditions. He gets an ornament every year and Christmas/winter themed pajamas. Those are more things that I want him to have than things he would choose, so I do not consider them gifts. We have Christmas pictures taken. We usually chose a charity to give to - adopting an angel from the angel tree or filling a shoe box for Samaritan’s Purse.

I have a friend who gives their children each three gifts as a reminder of the three gifts of the magi.

When you are shopping, keep in mind that you are going to stay the course and have a Simplified Season.  Keep you list updated and keep it handy while you shop.  That’s right! Take it with you.  You’re making a list and checking it twice here!  That’s how it is going to stay simplified.

One final note on shopping. Let’s not forget about on-line shopping to save time and gas money. This is especially great if you can find FREE SHIPPING options. Some sites (like Wal-Mart) will even let you ship to the store nearest you for free.  Happy Cyber Monday, my friends!

If you are in the Jacksonville/St. Johns area and would like your home better organized, or would like to know how to personally SIMPLIFY your Seasonal demands, and would like the assistance of a professional organizer, e-mail  You can also find me on Facebook by clicking HERE or by searching for Organize With Julie.  Stalk me on twitter @juliebavi.

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