It’s that time of year again-the best time, the most wonderful time (thanks, Andy Williams) and the time where shopaholics like myself finally have a justifiable excuse to drop hundreds of dollars on unnecessary random items found in the $3 bin at Forever 21—that’s right, it’s Christmas shopping time! Although I can’t say I’ll be roasting any chestnuts over a fire or hanging up mistletoe just quite yet, you can bet your Aunt Marge that I will be all up in the mall scouting for the perfect presents for all of my friends and family as soon as midterms are over. There’s a basic thought process that most Christmas shoppers go through when stressing about what to get for everyone on their Christmas list, and here’s just a few examples:
1. “Is this a good deal?”
It’s pretty normal to be overwhelmed by the amount of flashy signs and promotional flyers screaming “SALE!!” bombarding you around every corner of the mall. But, we need to ask ourselves—how many of these sales are actually worth it? Are 5 bottles of scented lotion for $25 at Bath and Body Works really a steal? In this instance, yes, but not in every case. Sometimes, prices can even be hiked up, since marketers know people are willing to spend more money during the Christmas season. Be on the lookout for markups: good for you for being inquisitive, though!
2. “I think they already have this in white, so they’ll love it in black.”
If you’re feeling uncreative and are simply stumped on what to get your special someone, the transitive property questionably applies. You think you’ll for sure hit a winner by giving someone a slightly different variation of something they already have, but think about it—if they would have liked one color over another, wouldn’t they have gotten it in the first place? Maybe…or maybe not. Either way, repeat gifts are a good thing to keep in mind when hunting for the perfect present.
3. “Can this be a present for myself?”
Let’s face it: at Christmas time, our favorite retailers pull out all the stops. From having the cutest clothes on display in the window to releasing a new line of knee-highs just at the start of December, they know how to get you. You might find yourself wondering if a certain item is just not right for anyone on your list, but that someone else ( aka yourself) might like it instead. You wonder if maybe, just maybe, you should get yourself a gift along with everyone else. To this, I respond with the most over-quoted line in Parks and Rec’s history—treat yo self. You’re buying something for everyone else in your life, so why not you? Whether you’ve been naughty or nice over the past year, it’s good to let yourself have a little fun and splurge to reward yourself for being such a conscientious gift-giver. Wrap it up under the tree and act surprised when the morning of the 25th rolls around.
4. “Is a gift card too generic?”
While gift cards are commonly seen as a last minute, un-thoughtful, and basic cop-out for a “real” present, they can actually be just as well received as a material object, if presented in the right way. If someone mentions wanting a gift card to a specific store, why not give them exactly what they want? It’s sometimes hard to shop for that especially picky person, so instead, give them a choice in what they want from their favorite place in the mall. To add a nice touch, wrap it up with tissue paper and one or two small goodies (ex. a pair of earrings or socks) to show that you put thought into their gift.
5. “Will they know that this was on the clearance rack?”
If you’re on a tight budget, the best way to go is definitely towards the sale/clearance rack. That being said, being discrete about picking a slashed-price item for a gift is in your best interest so the receiver won’t be offended about how much (or how little) you spent on them. As long as the item isn’t completely out of season (i.e., a sundress) and doesn’t have any holes and/or broken apparatuses on it, you should be fine. And keep the receipt to yourself, unless they ask for it, so you can still seem like a frugal yet awesome stocking stuffer.
6. “I don’t know what size he/she is…”
One of the most difficult struggles of clothing shopping for another person is playing the guessing game of which size they are. If you haven’t had the chance to sneak a glance at the label inside their sweatshirt and don’t want to reveal your gift by asking what size in skirts they are, my best advice is to go for the smaller size when in doubt and save the receipt. It makes for a lot less embarrassment when you give someone a medium size rather than a large; otherwise, you’ll be living this gift-giving experience down for years if you don’t downsize. Christmas is not the time to offend someone, so avoid the whole situation and just go one size smaller—trust me.
7. “They’re TOTALLY going to love this!”
When you’ve finally found the most amazing gift for your pal or your pops, an immense wave of relief and ecstasy will come over you. You’ve completed your task of rifling through all of the clothing racks and searching around each display in every major department store, and you are now basically the guru of all gift-giving—let’s just start calling you Santa. This feeling is why Christmas shopping is so fun in the first place and so rewarding at the end.
From worries about sizing to freaking out over prices, it’s no doubt that the task of Christmas shopping can be extremely stressful. However, with a positive attitude and a little bit of Christmas spirit, your Christmas shopping experience can be just as magical as the holiday itself. Now grab your shopping list and get going!