Does this happen to you, too? I create lists to stay on track with my goals and priorities: Shopping lists. Decorating lists. Dinner menu lists. To-do lists. And then, I digress: stuff I didn’t plan on buying starts entering the house. Once again, I need to up my holiday decluttering game!
We’re in the countdown now, and we are reminded that only so many holiday shopping days remain. If you’re teetering on high alert with dashes of anxiety and stress, take a breath and take five now: consider these three ways your holiday plans can get out of hand and how to prevent that from happening!
1. Every merchant has a recommended Santa’s list!
Stumped with what to buy your loved ones? Hard-to-buy-for, DYI-er, awkward-tweenager, newly-on-her-own, he-who-has-everything … there is no category unaddressed! Even if you’ve removed yourself from individual store lists, there are endless newsletters which announce suggestions from various merchants for your review. But there’s also the risk of seeing something that you could “use“, too! Which leads to an impulse buy … sigh!
Of course, we want to buy the perfect gifts for our family and friends. But if you can’t readily figure out what that means, perhaps they don’t really “need” something in particular. Why put yourself through this guessing process every year?
Instead, try this: my holiday shopping approach has been to pare down my gift list to universal “one-size-fits-all” presents. Think high quality cakes, candy, chocolate, fruit baskets or flowers. Tasty treats work wonderfully whether your recipients are local or out-of-town. And flowers can be the perfect choice for someone with dietary restrictions. Who doesn’t love receiving a beautiful arrangement?
Yet another option is to purchase a group experience for your family. This can range anywhere from a night at the movies or Escape the Room adventure to a weekend at a cabin. Plan for when this can be done safely, of course! Many gift certificates in purchased in 2020 have no expiration date or come fully refundable, if needed.
Forego the agonizing process to buy individual gifts. Keep your holiday shopping streamlined with an opportunity to spend quality time with your family. In other words, keep it simple! Then go ahead and delete those endless holiday gift suggestions stuffing your in-box!
2. Who doesn’t enjoy a beautifully designed tablescape?
It’s heartwarming to see our guests ohh and ahh over our coordinated theme. Many of us have the requisite green or red linens, the white china, or the fine crystal. But then you see all the incredible themes presented by your favorite Instagrammers or Pinterest champs … it puts your customary approach to shame! Maybe you’ll just swing by Hobby Lobby with a quick stop to Home Goods or Bed, Bath & Beyond …. yikes! I can guarantee that if this were me, my car would be crammed with decor and more!
Here’s an approach to avoid the urge to upgrade your entire theme: Go enjoy the incredibly creative and gorgeous layouts you see in social media. Create a collection board or save them to a favorite folder. Then, review what you have already instead. Consider enhancing with live flowers, evergreen branches or scented pinecones. Small tweaks can be sufficient to freshen up your theme without having to acquire a slew of more stuff to store!
3. How to resist the siren calls of slashed prices?
Holiday shopping after the event is a long-standing retail tradition! Well, before and during, as well, ha! Practically everything is marked down. You feel foolish or left out if you don’t take advantage of the sales. Yet think about this: You got on the hamster wheel when you bought during all the pre-holiday sales. Now, you’re back at it again. Then before you know it, we are inundated with the new merchandise for Spring. It’s an endless cycle and we become hamsters on the spending wheel! It’s a sobering thought, don’t you think?
In fact, this urge to shop is like “FOMO”, or “fear of missing out”. No one wants to feel like they are out of the loop of something that everyone else has or is doing. We are encouraged to have the latest model or style of everything. Once a newer version is rolled out, we feel the obsolescence of what we currently own. Sound familiar? A 5-minute read on this phenomenon is here!
How do we break the cycle of impulse holiday shopping? Of letting the mere mention of the word “sale” trigger us to buy again? At some point, we need to be practical. Decide that what we have is enough. That our belongings are acceptable for our current lifestyle. That more stuff will not improve our lives.
Of course, many of us know this is the case. If prompted, we would say we are blessed with much already. But what we say is not alway aligned with what we do. Now what?
Holiday Shopping Tactics
For starters, consider taking a retail break from holiday shopping for yourself this year. It may feel strange and cause a little anxiety. That’s normal. If you see things advertised that you’d want to buy, save those images and prices in a folder. Simply acknowledging the beautiful things out there can alleviate your need to own them on the spot. At the end of a month, take a look at the folder and add up how much you saved by not buying them. Pretty eye-opening, right?
Then, take stock with what you have. You may surprise yourself that what you already own is actually sufficient for your present needs. Too often, we pull the trigger with holiday shopping without thinking, “Do I need another one of this?” We simply focus on how wonderful the new item looks. I’ve had a client shocked to see that she already has a dozen white shirts in her closet. Often because she is drawn to that style or color. Generally because there are so many garments in the wardrobe, she can’t even see all of them!
Lastly, pay less attention to accumulating things. In other words, shop only when you know you need something. Don’t shop when you simply want something. Or when you’re bored. Or lonely. Or feeling restless. Shopping should not be a sport or a hobby.
Instead, focus your time on experiencing life’s adventures with your family and friends. Spend time with yourself, developing your own strengths and skills. Give back of your time and talents with those who have less. (hint: still feel like shopping? Shop and donate for those in need! Check in with your local charity for how to help). This is how to improve your life and of those around you!
How do you break away from the holiday shopping frenzy? Do you find yourself buying more stuff than you planned? Think about what you can do to shift from buying excess to enjoying enough!