Everybody has their little “life hacks”; little tips and tricks that make life easier in some way. In fact, there’s an entire websites dedicated to them. With the joy of the Internet, people are able to share little bites of wisdom such as using strips of masking tape if you don’t have a lint brush, or easy steps to learning how to be a speed reader (some hacks are more useful than others).
Today, spurned by a shopping trip with my daughter, I thought I’d share one of my own little life hacks, something my husband and I have all but perfected.
Every year, come the holiday season, we watch people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They desperately run around looking for specific toys that are sold out everywhere. They visit every store while becoming more and more agitated that they can’t find a damn thing that their mother-in-law might actually like. They struggle with the money it will cost to actually get their kid the specific thing they asked for. They pitch fits because something that was everywhere in the summer suddenly doesn’t exist, and dammit it would have been the perfect gift!
Every year my husband and I sit back and watch this chaos with grins on our faces, because for the overwhelming part, we are not part of the insanity. How do we manage it? It’s simple, really.
We shop for the holidays all year through.
It sounds horrifying, I’m sure. Shopping during the holidays is bad enough; shopping for the holidays all year through must be absolutely sickening, right? Right?
Wrong. Let’s examine the pros, shall we?
If you keep your mind open for possible holiday gifts all year through, you’re more likely to stumble across something that a loved one would like, rather than wracking your brain at the last minute trying to think of something. I can’t tell you how many gift ideas my husband and I have come up with in the middle of the summer that saved us losing our minds as the shopping days dwindled come the end of the year.
SALES. Sure, sales happen during the holidays too, but generally it’s only on the stuff the stores are trying to convince you to buy. However, sales happen all year through as well, and if you’re paying attention to them it’s very likely that you’ll manage to pick up a gift for significantly cheaper than the same item will cost you if you’re buying it in December. This pro goes hand in hand with things like sidewalk sales, clearance sales, and store closing sales. I’ve picked up tons of toys at store closing sales for a fraction of the price they normally cost, and simply stored them away in a closet where my daughter isn’t allowed. Easy peasy and saves a ton of money.
The most obvious one…by the time the holidays start to creep up and everyone around you begins to lose their minds, you could actually have almost nothing to do. This past Christmas, aside from a few small things, my husband and I basically had our shopping done by mid-November. All I had to do was wrap everything.
All it really takes is the littlest bit of extra effort. If you happen upon a big clearance sale, take a few minutes to browse through and see if there’s anything one of your loved ones would like to have. If you’re at the mall and your kids are rampaging through the toy aisles, take a look to see if anything you know they like is on sale. And even if nothing is on sale, if you happen to be shopping and see something that makes you think “so-and-so would LOVE this”, just get it! Unless it’s some kind of food item it won’t spoil while it’s sitting in your closet for a couple of months.
Trust me, it’s an outrageously easy method to make the holidays 200% easier. As I type this there are so many toys, arts and crafts stuff, and kids books hidden in my closet that we probably won’t have to even buy anything for our daughter come the holidays…and almost every item in there was on sale when we bought it. Two birds, one stone, zero stress.