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Shopping Tips to Take Home This Christmas

) Katrina Gadong |

Gift-giving may be a long-time Christmas tradition and a great reminder of the spirit of the season, but it doesn't make Christmas shopping any less daunting or overwhelming. Cheerful decors and ornaments at the stores, as well as the reduced prices and holiday discounts, proves no match for horrors at the thought of the typical scene of being among the swarm of people, crowded and packed like sardines and fighting over sought-after items.

However, Christmas shopping is not rocket science but an art that can be mastered. As in all big tasks, purchasing holiday presents require careful planning and strategizing. High time to get organized and be up for the challenge. With the holidays fast approaching, these three foolproof tips will give you a holly jolly time choosing gifts.

Make a list and check it twice

In true Santa fashion, consider who you are giving gifts to and take that thought process a step further by brainstorming what you'd want to buy for them. How old is the recipient? What are their interests? Also ask yourself, "How much am I willing to spend?" Be sure to set a realistic budget and stick to it. You might want to jot down names of the stores you plan on purchasing these stuff from as well.

All these points discussed will help you avoid aimlessly buying presents left and right, and lessen the possible usual distraction of getting things for yourself. And when that's all done and it's already time to actually head out to buy, enjoy crossing out names and items from your list one by one. A mental list just won't do; either write it down on paper or on your phone, as long as you can see your progress.

Plan your shopping strategy

Get ahead. You don't have to wait until the -ber months or the very month of Christmas to begin the process. Who knows? Some may have already started their Christmas shopping as early as December 26th last year. While it's tempting to ride on your adrenaline, last-minute purchases will only add stress to what should be a joyful activity.

Do your research and know your mall hours--they usually extend operations until 11pm or midnight to give way for those coming from office work. Also factor in the holiday traffic when you do decide to proceed to these crowded spaces; take alternative routes. If you can, it would be best to avoid the malls when it's most packed (at nighttime and on the weekends) as your mission of looking for gifts may be hindered and end up unsuccessful.

You might also want to skip the malls entirely and try ordering stuff online. While it is in itself a new challenge, it will save you time and energy from physically travelling to and going around the stores in search of things. The delivery service is also a good feature. Develop a strategy then strictly abide by it, but also be open for possible needed changes.

Consider non-material gifts

Remember: intangible gifts are still gifts; don't easily disqualify them. Thoughtful, personalized presents are oftentimes what your loved ones are wishing for the most this Christmas and are what truly matter. While some are still caught up on the "want versus need"/practicality factor in buying a present, bear in mind that not all gifts can be wrapped and displayed under the Christmas tree, nor do they have to be expensive at all.

Your time and talent are enough resources. A carefully-written Christmas letter/card would be a good start, but you may also offer your services: babysit the kids so the parents can go on a date, have a portrait session for friends, be your loved one's driver for a whole day, cook them a meal, to name a few. The list is endless.

No matter what you decide to do in terms of presents, take note that the best gifts come from the heart and that they are worth giving. Happy Christmas shopping!*

*PropertyAccess Philippines advises you to consider property investment as a gift for yourself and your loved ones this Christmas. Search from a variety of properties from houses to condos or lots, even islands, available for your liking.