Every year I leave my Christmas shopping till the start of December. Inevitably I end up stressed and running around in a packed shopping centre and buying stuff without a lot of thought.
This year, I've decided to be a bit more organised and started picking up a few bits and pieces and can't believe the good stuff I'm picking up in the sales. Will end up saving an absolute fortune!! Got me thinking that this is the way forward..no stress and cheaper, more thoughtful presents. What's not to like?!
For me, the main motivation isn't saving money, but avoiding the rush. I have social anxiety and going to the shops when they are crowded with stressed out shoppers is a guaranteed meltdown for me.
I do a lot of it online although I am going to make more effort to support a local independent toy store this year. But for online stuff, I will try and have it done by December 1 so I'm not worrying about snow, postal strikes etc. I keep wishlists on amazon for present ideas.
The main disadvantage of starting early, for me anyway, has been the risk of overbuying because I see more things that they'd like as the months go by. I have had a huge change in mindset this year though and it will effect Xmas - basically for the last few years we have gone overboard due to guilt (DH injured, me becoming disabled, basically a really shit couple of years) and while our DCs do appreciate and play with their toys, our house is just too cluttered and we are making a big effort to simplify our home, and not have so much Stuff coming in, so we will be more selective.
Although actually we have got their main present already as I found out that playmobil won't be making the pyramid anymore, and DD is fascinated by ancient Egypt. I am also putting together a big craft stuff kit so I will keep an eye out for stuff to put in (eg going to the fabric shop for remnants rather than end up paying over the odds for precut foam shapes in ELC, etc.) - I am quite excited about doing this
So far the DCs don't really ask for anything particular (they don't see adverts on tv as we only use it for DVDs) and we can just choose a few things we know they will love. We don't have a big family so basically they only get gifts from us, DSCs and my parents (but the latter is chosen by us anyway as they don't like choosing).
I don't wrap until December as I found it gets tatty if I do it earlier, and plus I love wrapping on my own with some carols playing etc. But mostly I want December to be free for lazing, cooking, carol services, crafts, walks in the woods collecting pine cones, and our new pre-Xmas tradition of a family trip to the movies and then a pizza lunch (did it with just DSDs and DD last year but now DS is old enough he and DH can come too).
I've nearly finished, done my LO and her birthday is on 23rd Dec so have to spread it out. We also have a big party (40 people last year) mid december where everyone gets a present and I've done all that too along with DM, MIL and FIL, in fact the only ones I need to sort out is OH and Me LOL! I always wait until the tree is up to wrap and write cards with a big glass of baileys and xmas film on in the background. Love Love Love Christmas.
I have to hide/curb my ridiculous OTT Christmas excitement until December. My DH is a bit but he's used to me by now and knows better than to question. I'm sure he's grateful when Christmas happens . I'm not saying it's seamless but hopefully it's smooth.
My DS has a December birthday. The shopping centres are the Seventh Circle of Hell in December. If it snows, everything grinds to a halt.
When I went out last year (end November) I shopped and took stuff back to my car at least three times. It's easier to shop alone than have DC or DH following me like Velcro.
DH and I do an adults only shopping day on a Friday in December to get the bulk of the presents without the DC. We order online alot. I use my Nectar points for Christmas food shopping (and sadly that is one of my favourite bits of the preparation)
We don't buy the DC presents till December, it's impossible to know what they want. But when they go back to school I'll start buying the Stocking Gifts then the Christmas Eve Hamper.
Ive started mine, mainly for DS the problem I have is the earlier I start the more I buy :/ I love buying gifts for people and putting effort into wrapping them NNice, I like to be finished shopping wise by November, we do lots with DS in December so we don't have time to shop. I do save wrapping for December though as I am one if those strange people that enjoys wrapping presents and it makes me feel all festive.