Holiday Gifts - Does Shopping Early Help?

By: Marilyn Franklin

Holiday gifts can sometimes bring joy to many but for the those of us that are not good planners buying the right holiday gifts may lead to stress and bigger hole in our pockets. When I was younger I laughed at my sister. She would start buying presents for Christmas way before I even thought about it. She's the one that wakes up at 3 am to go to early bird shopping events that many of the brand name department stores run. I would run into stores on Christmas Eve where it was crowded and the atmosphere was not a gleeful.

The turning point in my life was when I started seeing the disappointment on the face of some members in my family when I couldn't find something that I had promised because I had waited. My pocketbook also suffered because when I did find that hot gift it was at the highest price of the season.

Here is a list of some of the benefits of shopping early for your holiday gifts:

* The presents you find are usually cheaper
* A wider variety of products are available that can generate gift ideas
* The special hot gift of the season is in stock
* Online Shopping sites usually offer some form of free shipping

If you shop early department stores in particular offer a variety of early bird specials. You can save a lot of money on specific things on your list. You can do this by flipping through the circulars that are available on or before Thanksgiving as they publicize their specials and their Black Friday deals for holiday gifts. The trick here is to make sure you know what you are looking for before you go shopping. If you know you want to get your mother or sister a bed in a bag set be sure to see if there are any specials offered at certain stores. Even if you shop online finding deals on holiday gifts is getting easier as online merchants are running their own Black Friday specials.

The later you shop the less choices you are going to have. Even if money is not a consideration if you are looking for the latest hot product like the IPod Touch or something like that if you try to get that the day before Christmas you may have a hard time finding it. The wider variety of products available when you shop early also helps you to actually think about gift ideas for people for whom you have not decided what to buy. More often than not stores order a certain amount of a certain product and if becomes hot or they underestimated the demand it can run out of stock quickly. If you have a list of holiday gifts for the latest gaming system or the latest video game or something similar shopping early is your best bet to get it before the stores run out.

If you are an online shopper or find that the gifts you are looking for can only be found online shopping early will also usually save you money on shipping costs. As the holidays get closer the free option for shipping usually gets harder to find. One or Two day shipping options can be very expensive especially if your gift is something heavy.

So as you can see shopping early does help you not only save money on your holiday gifts but it also increases the chances that you will get the best gifts for your loved ones. As my sister says "planning is key", start flipping through those circulars and surfing your favorite online shopping sites now.

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