Christmas shopping: tricks of the trade

SIX NATIONS — This past weekend, one of the largest collections of vendors and artisans took place at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

For two full days, visitors were given the opportunity to fuel the local economy and get some Christmas shopping in by travelling the floors of the arena to view more than 100 booths. The bazaar itself is an example of just how much entrepreneurial power there is on Six Nations.

But many people promise themselves to start Christmas shopping early — there are those that even begin shopping in September or earlier. But often times, procrastination takes hold; hence the long lines at the mall and the crowded and bustling streets during the holiday season.

Most Christmas shoppers spend an average of $800 for the holidays, so creating a budget is the best step forward. But if you’ve procrastinated, or missed out on recent bazaars and craft fairs, you aren’t alone. This article is a compilation of the most helpful tips to ease some of the stress!

For those that don’t like crowds or leaving their homes for long:

Gift Cards
Not only do you allow the recipient of your gift the opportunity to spend it how they see fit, you can also add a bit of sentimental value as you should know the recipient well enough to know which store or shop they’d want a gift card to. The receiver can also get more bang for their buck as the recipient can choose to use the gift card at a peak sale time.

However, over 50 per cent of gift card recipients noted that they didn’t use their cards simply because they didn’t have time to. So try to make sure your gift card is suitable for the receiver (ex: iTunes, Netflix).

You can’t really go wrong with buying food gifts as long as the recipient doesn’t have a food allergy. Food baskets, recipes in a jar, gourmet collection baskets can all be deemed useful and tasty by anyone on the receiving end.

If you are in the creative mood; chocolates and nuts are an easy combo to combine as well, as you can fill your own gift wrapping with foods that won’t take a chunk out of your gift budget.

If you do a little digging into what the receiver of your gift is into, there will more often than not be a book written to fill. And not only are books inexpensive when compared to other gifts, they can be personalized by writing an inscription on the inside.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what book to buy, simply scour the bestsellers tables — they will likely hold a lot of deals during this time of year and make for a gift that can forever grace a bookshelf.

The best days to shop online during the holidays are November 28-30 and December 1. But December 21 to 24 is generally the time to scoop up big-ticket items, like televisions, furniture, and fine jewelry. As Christmas nears, merchants often discount premium items that haven’t moved and prices continue to drop as the holiday gets closer. This also means the selection will narrow and be mindful of shipping delays.

If you’ve waited a little too long or you still can’t seem to find the right gift:

Shop on Christmas Eve
Even if you are an Olympic-level shopaholic, the mall at the holiday season is super stressful and is not akin to peace on earth, at all. The holidays can bring out the nastiness in people and thieves can sometimes take advantage as well. If you do choose to shop during this time, the malls are less crowded as most people have completed their shopping lists which can help make the trip more efficient.

Pack light and keep your money and your lists close at hand to avoid losing them or falling victim to pickpockets. Making use of a shopping buddy to help you pick items out and checking for online coupons can help.

Though a gift is always appreciated as the thought is what counts, when the gift is not quite right for you and you know it might suit someone else better, it seems obvious that the item should find it’s way to that better someone. The act of regifting will save a little money in the process, too.

Make sure not to regift Christmas cards; a good baseline for regifting can be anything unopened, unexpired, unused and nothing that’s been sitting in your basement for the last 5-10 years. And if you don’t like a gift you’ve been given but can’t find a recipient, you can pass it along to a charity organization.

Just a few things to avoid when last minute shopping includes buying clothes and getting creative. You are more likely to go wrong with a quick and fast clothing decision as sizing is difficult, and getting creative and making a gift might take too long to complete before it can get under the tree.

Happy hunting!

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