Holiday shopping can be a daunting task when you’re short on time, money or gift ideas. At a time when happiness should typically dominate the emotions, a dreariness befalls many, intensified due to shopping woes. Shopping efficiently with minimal effort leaves you with energy to enjoy the festive atmosphere that surrounds us during the holiday season. The following tips provide ways to simplify your holiday shopping:


1) List everyone for whom you need a gift, adding gift ideas and price ranges below their names.


2) Ask friends and family for ideas about gifts they would like to receive. This way they are assured of receiving a gift they will appreciate and it provides you with choices and price ranges.


3) For more ideas, use catalogs and newspaper flyers. Mark items with colored sticky notes. Ordering early reduces stress.

4) What holiday shopping tips list would be complete without including the internet? There are general online sites for ideas and ordering items from your favorite stores. At, you can bid for items and bargains. Try,,, or to name a few.

5) When your list is written and you are ready to brave the crowds, decide where the majority of gifts on your list can be found. Route those stores in geographical order to save time. Can you buy most of the items at one mall, at Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot? Bunch them up. Don’t make six trips to one store, for example. (Some people do this, you know).

6) Carry your list with you on all shopping trips. Record each purchase and price beneath the recipient’s name. A check mark indicates you’ve completed shopping for an individual. Keep a running total of the amounts spent in order to stay within your budget.

7) If you don’t prefer to do the shopping yourself, many finer department stores employ personal shoppers who can suggest, choose, wrap and mail gift items for you. Independent sales consultants with such companies as Mary Kay, Avon and Quixtar, can also provide suggestions in most price ranges.

8) Gift certificates or gift cards make a welcomed gift that fit any budget and category. (Find out in advance what stores your recipients enjoy). Not only are gift certificates available from most retail and grocery stores, they are available for personal services such as manicures, facials, massages and organizing services, for example. Service-type gift certificates and event tickets such as for movies help control clutter.

9) Cash is a much appreciated and appropriate gift for teenagers and for those who provide services to you throughout the year, such as your beautician, yardman and housekeeper.

10) Shop dollar stores or discount stores to stock up on wrapping paper, gift tags, ribbon and tape. After the holidays major discounts are available on these items at most stores for next year.

When your shopping is complete, go home, prop up your feet, take a break, and enjoy the rest of your holiday season, knowing the satisfaction that comes from being organized.

Diane Hatcher is a Certified Professional Organizer in South Florida. Since 1998 Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. has specialized in simplifying clients’ lives. Contact Diane at 954-252-7511 or online at

This an other seasonal articles can be found in the 2012 Holiday Gift Giving Guide  (PDF). You can also read the Flip Version .