Stress-Free Shopping Tips: Why We Don’t Buy Gifts at Christmas Time

Stress-Free Shopping Tips: Why We Don’t Buy Gifts at Christmas Time

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.

Here’s the scenario:  

It’s the end of November and you’re just coming out of your turkey coma.  Assuming you didn’t launch into crazy shopping mode on Black Friday, you may be considering the perks of Cyber Monday.  I mean, it’s all online right?  All you have to do is log on and shop to your heart’s desire. No laying a finger on a germ-riddled shopping cart!  You don’t have to battle the crowds. And you’re going to get crazy discounts right??  I mean, yeah, your niece doesn’t particularly need another pair of headphones, but LOOK AT THE PRICE!  Before you know it, you’re distracted.  You’ve gone from the headphones to refrigerators and now you’re looking at boots in your own size…  STOP!  Let’s take a timeout here.  Put down your device and hear me out, please, because there is a better way.

Am I telling you that you should never shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Nope.  If you have a good plan, a solid list, and an incredible amount of self-control and patience, you go for it sister! I am here to encourage you, not to ask you to do something totally crazy!

Here’s what I won’t be asking: I WON’T be encouraging you to withhold gifts from those you love.  I WON’T be telling you that celebrating Christmas with gifts is wrong.  I WON’T be encouraging you to do some crazy strict thing that very few people can achieve.

I WILL be discussing easy and effective ways to shop for your loved ones throughout the year so you don’t have to do that familiar Christmastime scramble.  You know, the one where you end up running to several stores looking for that perfect gift at the last minute.  The one where you are growing increasingly anxious at the time ticking away before celebration time arrives as are the 400 other people trying to squeeze into the mall parking lot.

Tips for Stress-Free Shopping

Blah.  Just writing about the Christmas shopping craziness makes me tense.  There’s no need for your gift-giving occasions to leave you scrambling, frustrated, and frazzled.  Here are a few things to think about when you’re getting started with your stress-free year-round shopping:

  • Let go of the notion that you MUST get the best deal out there.  Let your bank account dictate the best deal for you.  What’s a fair price for the gift you’re looking for?  Is your budget able to accommodate that?
  • Stick to the basics.  For our purposes, my husband and I generally buy all of our children’s gifts throughout the year.  That means that we have to stay away from fads and seasonal items and stick with basic things that our children love through different ages and stages.
  • Technology is your friend, so don’t forget to use it!  If you’re walking through the store and spot an item marked down, hop on your smart phone if you have one and check out competitor’s prices.  Chances are if it’s on sale at one store, it could be somewhere else too.  That’s an easy way to make sure you’re getting a great deal.
  • Pay attention to peak sale times.  My husband and I love to stroll through different stores when we’re out together without our kids (which is a rare occasion indeed).  One thing that we’ve noticed through the years is that we find excellent sales when we’re “window shopping” on our anniversary date.  That’s mid-July.  Why is Walmart clearancing out toys in mid-July?  I have no idea, but it’s worth noting if you’re going to be year-round shopping.  After Christmas sales are generally good as well as sales in the fall when summer type toys go on sale.

Advantages to Shopping Year-Round

By shopping year round I get to gauge my children’s consistent interests and buy things that they will appreciate well into the next Christmas.  For us that generally looks like Legos, art supplies, books, building sets, and clothes.  As a nation blessed beyond abundance, I feel responsible for keeping my children grounded.  Let’s face it, kids love the latest and greatest thing.  We do not have traditional television in our home, so my children rarely see commercials, but when they do, you’d think that these children have never received a gift in their life.  Suddenly a stuffed animal that turns into a pillow AND holds your pajamas inside is THE MOST AMAZING THING EVERRRRR.  Never mind that they have no need for something like that, or that they never touch the 5 billion stuffed animals they already have.  Luke 12:15 says this:

And he said to them, “Take care and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  

I want to ensure that my family remembers these words, especially during the Christmas season.  Along with the relaxation I gain during the holidays by shopping this way, I also gain a sense of financial stability.  There’s no saving for months in order to make Christmas “happen.”  There’s no going into debt in order to find the latest craze and pay more than normal for it at the last minute.  I waste less money on impulse buys when I know I have more time to look.  I also waste less money on junk.

This all stems from our desire to be good stewards of the money we have been blessed with.

For me, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that I have a well-stocked closet with gifts for any occasions.  There’s no post-Thanksgiving scramble for this girl.  I can ride on into December knowing that other than a few things here and there, I’m set for Christmas and can set my focus on Christ our Savior.

How do you handle holiday shopping? 

What ways do you ensure that your family is focusing on things greater than earthly possessions?


Stop Saying “No”

Stop Saying “No”

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
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I have had a really difficult time with this post.  I started on my post two times and it failed to save both times.  I decided that meant that God had another post in mind for me to write.  I was trying to come up with another topic and was really struggling so I took a break and went to a meeting that I had wanted to attend.  It is a group of wonderful Christian women and we were having a wonderful discussion.

Someone mentioned that as a strong, independent woman, she had a difficult time accepting help.  We continued this discussion and that is when God hit me on the head.

Like so many other women, I am a fixer, a caregiver.  I try to make everything okay for everyone.  I can do just about anything myself from driving a tractor to building a house.  I am independent and I never like to ask for help.  I turn it down most of the time when offered.  I know there are a lot of us out there.

Is help easily accepted or quickly rejected?

Our family was recently hit with tragedy again recently.  Our nephew’s family was in a horrific car wreck.  Three of the four members of the family were hospitalized at the time of the accident.  The youngest, a thirteen month old, was released first but re-admitted within the week.  I could tell by their messages that my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and nephew were exhausted and distraught.

I told them I would come to the hospital and help with the baby so that they could get some rest.  My sister-in-law insisted that I was too busy and should not come.  I told her that I was almost done with the work I had to complete and then would be on my way.  She did not want to accept help!  

While I was at the hospital, they did not rest much; however, my sister-in-law and I went down to the cafeteria for lunch.  We had a nice visit and hopefully it was the break she needed from the PICU.  I tried entertaining the baby and helped with feeding him.  It brought back lots of memories of when my children were that little.  I got to be silly and I think that was what I needed.

Don’t deprive others of a blessing

One of the things that was mentioned at my meeting this morning was that when you tell someone that you do not need help, you are depriving them of a blessing.  That thought really hit home as that was exactly what I got from driving up to “help” with the baby.  I was tired when I left but I had fun.  I enjoyed my visit with everyone and got to play with a baby and try to bring a smile to his face.  That was my blessing and will stick with me for a long time.

I had not realized the significance of that hospital visit until my meeting this morning.  God does not want us to be alone and do everything on our own.  We need to depend on each other and be willing to accept help.  But most importantly, we need to depend on Him.

I know I will now be more open to accepting help.

Do you readily accept help?

Stopsaying-No- (1)

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