Why You Should Christmas Shop All Year Long

For today’s guest post on Christmas shopping all year long, please welcome back fellow blogger Anum Yoon.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—unless you leave all your Christmas shopping until November and December. The long lines, the rush to get to the mall on Black Friday, the stampede to pick up this year’s hottest toy—it’s all part of the game, and it’s a game that can make you very, very tired.

Black Friday to Christmas Eve may be prime shopping time, but it's better for you & your wallet if you do your Christmas shopping all year long. Here's why.

What happens when you don’t put off your Christmas shopping until November? Does it matter? It actually does, and you’ll be a lot less likely to encounter the emotional dumpster fire that ignites as the clock steadily marches closer to Christmas. Not convinced? If you need more reasons than that alone to start shopping sooner, here are five more reasons to start picking up presents year-round.

1. You’ll Get Great Discounts on Gifts

Black Friday gets all of the attention when it comes to discounts, and, it’s true, there are some great deals. But some only apply to the first however-many customers who camp out, and many shops sell out by the time reasonable individuals roll out of bed—at, say, 8 or 9 o’clock on that infamous Friday morning.

If you shop year-round, though, you can keep an eagle eye out for the best discounts on whatever it is your loved ones want. This is especially true if you shop for seasonal items at the end of that time of the year. So, for example, if your boyfriend wants a surfboard, buying one at the end of surfing season will probably serve your wallet well.

You can also learn the ways to scope out discounts in shops and online offers, which you can use year-round to take advantage of less crowded sale days or weekends. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and end-of-season sales will all become your new best friends because of the discounts they provide.

2. You’ll Find Deals on Décor, Too

Christmas isn’t just about presents—yeah, try telling your kids that one more time. Seriously, though, your Christmas shopping might also include holiday décor, as well as wrapping paper, bows and tissue. This stuff tends to go on major sale the day after the season’s over.

We know—the last thing you want to do after you finish Christmas shopping is to go Christmas shopping again, but your wallet will be super happy. You can get timeless holiday decorations at a fraction of their ticketed prices. You might even want to invest in bigger-ticket items during this time, too, like an artificial tree or lighted figurine for your front yard. Oh, and that pricey holiday wrapping paper? Fill your cart full of it because it’ll be dirt-cheap post-December 25th.

3. You’ll Take Better Care of Yourself

If you reflect on the mid-Christmas-shopping-season version of yourself during seasons past, you might shudder. You were likely tired, stressed out, and frazzled. Maybe you drank way too much coffee and barely sat down. Didn’t even have time to watch Elf? That’s, of course, a tragedy in itself. When you’re maxed out with holiday stress, it’s also tough to maintain a normal, healthy routine of eating well and exercising—which can further fuel that emotional dumpster fire.

Winter is a notoriously tough time to stay in shape as it is, so wearing yourself thin running from store to store to store isn’t going to help you beat the odds. With Christmas shopping done and dusted, though, you can focus on all the ways you can stay healthy through the holiday and beyond. You can exercise, cook with healthy ingredients, take your supplements, and go to fitness classes—whatever makes you feel good won’t fall by the wayside. You’ll be in control and thrilled about it.

4. You’ll Easily Get Everyone on Your List

Who’s coming for Christmas this year? How many teachers do your kids have? What did your mother-in-law mention off-handedly that she needed but would never buy herself? These are not ruminations you want to have on December 24th. If you plan ahead, though, you can avoid that Christmas Eve I-didn’t-get-something-for-everyone feeling because you covered everything months in advance.

There might be the occasion where you have to swap purchased presents between those on your list if someone buys what you got them for themselves. However, when you have everything else done, it often doesn’t create as much stress.

There are always going to be random friends, neighbors, and co-workers who pop up with unexpected presents, but it’s relatively easy to find ways around any additional shopping or stress when this happens. You might want to DIY a handful of cute, crafty gifts that are generic enough to pass out to people who appear with gifts in hand. Again, stress avoided.

5. You’re Not Overloading Your Wallet

Christmas is expensive—we all know this to be a fact. It’s not just about the presents, either. Between holiday feasts, travel to family members’ homes, decorations, activities, Christmas cards, and parties, you’re shelling out a lot of extra cash at this time of the year.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why it’s ideal to spread your shopping out over the months leading up to Christmas—you’re able to spread out your costs, too. Instead of stressing about your budget for everything, you can remove the biggest expense and live a whole lot more comfortably in December. You can also say “yes” to more parties, family gatherings, and fun wintry activities—which might put you in the Christmas spirit you missed while shopping last-minute and handling your finances like Ebenezer Scrooge himself.

Now, Start Shopping

Depending on when you’re reading this, it may be too late to start a new early shopping regimen. But no matter when you begin, shopping ahead of time will change your entire attitude toward Christmas. No more stress about money, shopping or the amount of time you have to do everything. You’ll finally be able to enjoy the season, which is the whole point of the holiday, after all—and that’s something we can all get on board with.

About Anum Yoon

Anum Yoon is a personal finance blogger and freelance writer who strangely enough, found her passion for money management through her extensive travels around the world. Since deciding to settle in the US, she has been faced with the task of becoming a responsible consumer with an excellent credit score. You can read her updates on her blog, Current on Currency, or check out her latest ramblings on Twitter at @anumyoon.
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  1. I started shopping a bit earlier than usual this year, but I’m always concerned that my daughter will a) become less interested in the toy she was once obsessed with or b) find my present stash. That said, I do think you can find some real bargains by watching for sales and keeping your eyes open. Just find a good hiding place (but not so good that you can’t find the presents when you need them…)

  2. Great points Gary! I ventured out to shop last weekend. The roads and the malls were ridiculously packed. Thank goodness for Amazon!

  3. There is always enough time to watch Elf! :p

    In all seriousness, these are some great points. I’m not done with shopping yet, but I have been picking stuff up throughout the year to ease the burden a great deal.

  4. Maybe this is the next area for self improvement. I ALWAYS wait until the last minute; I hate to shop. But then it’s so stressful in November/December when I’m trying to find stuff to give.

    • It’s no fun to wait until the last minute for you, and no fun for the people who are working in the stores, either. Everyone’s patience is worn by then, so it does make a lot of sense to get a head start. Good luck this year, and thanks for your comment.

  5. My family used to joke that my grandmother started her Christmas shopping on December 26th – and that wasn’t far from the truth! The week after Christmas was when she would normally buy any Christmas-themed trinkets to give people as gifts the following year.

    • As a former retailer, I can tell you there is definitely a large number of shoppers who are chomping at the bit to begin their shopping sprees on December 26th. In fact, one of the busiest weeks of the year is the week after Christmas and one of the reasons is because of the huge sales that begin after the holiday. So give grandma kudos for her wise shopping habit.

  6. I agree with the advice. Start buying gifts as soon as you can. There are great deals on things throughout the year that would make great gifts, far cheaper than you would get on the lead up to Christmas. Not only that, but it reduces the last minute rush stress and keeps you closer to your budget all year round.

    • Thank you, Martin. As a former retailer I can tell you that the stores prepare for Christmas in such a way to stimulate sales but also to protect the bottom line. Which means prices don’t always reflect what’s best for the consumer. It’s the timing that makes customers more susceptible during the holidays.

  7. All so true! We buy the small things as much as we can ahead but it seems like everyone makes up their mind what they want closer to Christmas. So we look for sales. We just go to one store on Black Friday and they carry a lot. It is kind of funny that of lot of it is for stuff we need.

    • I guess I have to plead guilty when it comes to making my choice of gifts known to anyone, but truthfully I’d rather them not make a big deal out of gifts for me. It’s such a hassle to bear the crowds and I have plenty of stuff, so I don’t require a lot, haha. Besides, there’s always online shopping.

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