I was asked by two co-workers today if I already started my Christmas shopping for this year. I told them that I was still getting over my last Christmas shopping season and that I haven’t given it a thought at all, until now. So, the question is, Should you start your 2007 Christmas shopping in June or wait until Thanksgiving or even the last minute like on Christmas Eve? Many articles on line suggest you shop early and avoid high prices or out of stock items. Why You Should Avoid Last Minute Christmas Shopping. But what about all of the great deals the Day After Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as Black Friday? If you start too early you miss some great deals and don’t have access to products that are not available yet. It may be very difficult if not impossible to return any gifts that you change your mind about if you purchase them too early. Then again if you wait too late, what you want may no longer be available or you may end up paying a higher price because you do not have the time to comparison shop.
When is the Best Time to Start Planning your Christmas Shopping?
You should start planning your Christmas Shopping List at the beginning of the year. Create a list of people that you will get gifts for. Identify their interests, hobbies, wants, and needs and set a goal for how much to spend for each person. Starting this list early gives you a chance to refine it throughout the year. As you shop throughout the year note the price of gifts and compare them at other stores. Resist the urge to buy any gifts early even if you think it will be the best deal of the year. As you get closer to Christmas you may find that the gift you bought early is not the right gift for that person anymore. Also, buying gifts early may waste the warranty that comes with the gift. You should also start a gift fund at the beginning of the year by saving a few bucks a week to put towards your gift purchases. You’ll be amazed at how much money you end up with by the Christmas Season. Keep updating your list and refining your notes all the way up until its time to actually start making those gift purchases.
When is the Best Time to Actually Start Buying Christmas Gifts?
I recommend at 90 days before Christmas (around September 25th) you should begin making your gift purchases. However, before making any purchases examine the store policies on returns and make sure you leave enough time from when you purchased the gift to a few days after Christmas in order to accommodate returns. Many stores have a 90 day return policy which is why I recommend starting no sooner than 90 days from Christmas. As mentioned above this will also leave more time on the warranty in case there is any defect with the gift. In addition to starting within 90 days of Christmas you should leave some of your budget for the great deals the Day After Thanksgiving. Get a head start on those deals by visiting Black Friday Ad sites such as http://www.bfads.net or http://www.blackfriday.info Many of these sites begin posting ads in October for the Black Friday specials. The other reason to wait for the 90 day mark is to allow companies to introduce new products in time for Christmas. You don’t want to regret purchasing something early because a newer version or better gift came out later. The last bit of advice I can give you is to wrap up your Christmas purchases no later than the second week in December, the 13th is a good deadline. No matter what, don’t wait until the last week before Christmas. You will be desperate and limited in what is available to purchase. So remember, start buying no earlier than 90 days before Christmas and finish no later than 12 days (December 13) before Christmas. If you follow my advice you can enjoy the 12 days leading up to Christmas knowing that all of your shopping is done and done right!
My Top Ten 2007 Christmas Holiday Gift Ideas (as of June 7th, 2007)
- Apple iPhone
- Apple TV
- Apple iPod
- Tivo or other Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
- SlingMedia’s SlingBox
- Sony PlayStation3
- Nintendo Wii
- Plasma TV
- Games: StarCraft 2
- Microsoft Surface Computer (if you have the money – see my post on this cool technology)
Other Christmas Shopping Articles for 2007:
- 6 Great Online Christmas Shopping Tips
- Anyone Start Christmas Shopping Yet – DIS Discussion Forums
- It Is Not Too Early to Start Planning Your Christmas Shopping
- Time to Start Christmas Shopping for Next Year?
What are your shopping strategies? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of my advice.