Major Holiday Busters Part 2

Re-Gifting Slip Ups

You decide this year, that you are set for gifts.

holidayYou have a whole closet full of nice, but not-for-you gifts that other people are sure to love.

So you package up that beautiful distinctly ruffled cream button-up too-preppy-for-you J.Crew top, and re-gift it to your friend for Christmas.

Before Christmas, you trade gifts early, and you hand your (re)gift to her to open.

But.. oh wait. Is that a look of recognition on her face!?!?!


SHE was the one who gave you that sweater last year!

And like a dumbass you forgot to label who the gift came from, and for what holiday, so you’re caught in a re-gifting trap.

Horrified, you spend the rest of your life, buying her brand new, expensive, over-the-top gifts to compensate for the guilt of being a thoughtless re-gifter.

And as a bonus, you keep all the gifts you don’t love in fear of someone asking you how you liked those pair of reindeer print pants they got you 3 Christmases ago.

FB’s Advice:

Well what’s done is done. You re-gifted and were caught red-handed.

All you can do, is laugh it off (or at least try to), apologize and come clean.

It just wasn’t your style, and seemed better suited to her style. (Which is the truth, right?)

Next time, label who and for what occasion you received those gifts, and stop re-gifting within the same circles.

Or, the next time you re-gift, come clean and say it’s a brand new re-gift that just wasn’t right for you, but is perfect for your friend.

Oh, and don’t keep what you don’t love. At the very least, wear it and laugh, or donate it.

Procrastinating Peter

It’s the very last week, nay, DAY before Christmas, Hannukkah or Kwanzaa officially starts, and you’ve been putting off this nasty task of trying to find the most thoughtful, yet inexpensive gift for each of your family members, friends, neighbours and co-workers.

holiday-shopping stressYou’re out in those stores who are cleverly opened until midnight, trying to get everybody on your list done in one fell swoop.

Never mind that trying to get people on a list “done” defeats the purpose of a thoughtful gift, you end up spending more than you should because you are just at a loss for WTF they need and/or want.

And everybody loves an iPod Nano, right?

The second scenario is you find the perfect gift, but didn’t make it to the post office in time to send it on the cheap.

So now, to send a $25 gift to your nephew, you end up spending $50 on just the shipping costs alone.

FB’s Advice:

Start earlier next time.

Make it a point to write in your calendar, smartphone, organizer, whatever, that you MUST get all of your holiday shopping done at least 2 weeks in advance.

That means by the first week of December, you should be D-O-N-E like a matzoh ball soup.

And as for the procrastination on the shipping fiasco?

Just learn from your mistakes and get to the post office sooner.

I mean really, Hannukah is flexible on the dates, but Christmas is ALWAYS on the 25th. What’s the deal?

Some strategies that might help:

1) Getting a personal shopper because they really know their stuff.

And they loooove their jobs.

So if you can afford to fork over a small, reasonable fee for their time, give them the list and they will run out, happy as clams with a budget and thoroughly enjoying the challenge of finding the right gift that you are going to approve.

reduce-stress-holiday-shoppingYou avoid having to do it yourself (let’s face it, it’s a hassle) and it’s like having a filter set in place.

The shopper brings back a list of things your niece MIGHT like, and you just choose one gift from there. Done.

2) Or, you can just make a weekend of it, rope in some of your friends who have similar lists and are just as clueless, and start working as a team to buy what the others buy for their nieces or nephews.

Two heads are better than one, or so they say.

3) Lastly, you can just grab a friend who loves to shop, and make him help you find gifts for people on your list. For free. And all for a small price of a Grande Latte at Starbucks.

You’re struck by the Holiday Bug

You end up getting your babysitter, dentist, doctor, mailperson and each of your co-workers just a little “something”. At $20 a pop and for a list of maybe 50 people, that’s $1000 more than you can afford!

And your kids? They’re such great kids, they deserve more than what you got them. You feel like getting them each something extra special.

Or you get this Rachel Zoe-inspired idea that the holidays should be celebrated with one, huge, fabulous, all-encompassing, festival, with your grandparents, parents and siblings flown in for a huge bash hosted at your home and paid for entirely, by you.

Why? Because you have very good intentions, but for the holidays, money is no object when it comes to the health and happiness of those you love, and you just want to show as much love as possible.

FB’s Advice:

The holidays are not about gifts and money, contrary to advertisements and the overwhelming pressure to be better, bigger and more flashy this year.

Sometimes, simple is best, and less is more.

BeatHolidayStressDon’t give gifts to people you don’t normally tip, talk to or gift.

They’re going to get caught off guard and have to reciprocate with a Guilt Gift of their own.

Or worse, you feel resentful because they didn’t even get you anything in return!

As for the big bash? Why would you do that to yourself?

If you can afford it, great! Send me an invite and a pair of tickets.

But if you can’t afford it, then don’t over promise and under deliver. If you feel like you really must do something, make a handmade card and write all the goods things you’ve ever wanted to say to your family in the card.

Guaranteed, they’ll cherish that heartfelt gift forever over a big, fancy, splashy bash at your home.

The Perfect Gift Fallacy

You haven’t quite found the right gifts yet. But in the mean time, how about this handy tool box?

Or this great gift for the home? Someone on your list is SURE to love it!

At the end of the two weeks, you’re down $500, with no “perfect” gift to show for anyone on your list.

Holiday_shoppingOr how about when you look into your closet, and all the great, perfect little gifts you bought for everyone in the summer, suddenly look sad, dull and not-quite-what-you-were-expecting.

You rush out, and end up buying a boatload of new gifts, forgoing the sunk cost of the gifts you had already purchased earlier in the year.

Or worse, end up giving double what you had originally wanted to give by giving the gifts you had already bought and the gifts you are going to buy!

FB’s Advice:

When you make a list of people to shop for, make sure when you whip out your wallet to pay for the item, you have the EXACT person in mind you want to buy the item for.

Cross them off your list, and move on.

And if you buy gifts earlier in the year, then consider yourself holiday-shopping-free.

Start taking the time to package the gifts, writing the little cards that go with each of the gifts, and patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.