The air is turning crisper, the days are growing shorter, and everything either smells or tastes like pumpkin spice.  It must be time for the holiday season!

These seasonal changes can also trigger a question that can create feelings of stress or joy, depending on your holiday spirit: “When should I start Christmas shopping?”

While some people might be tempted to hold off or move at their own pace, planning ahead and starting your Christmas shopping early can save you from the dreaded last-minute rush and ensure a stress-free season of giving you can actually enjoy.

Before things kick into super high gear, Brandon and I wanted to dive into the benefits of starting your Christmas shopping well in advance and provide a helpful timeline to guide your Christmas season preparations.

Always Avoid the Christmas Shopping Rush

One of the most motivating reasons to start your Christmas shopping early is to avoid the dreaded/horrible/feared/anxiety-driving inevitable holiday rush. When you begin your shopping well ahead of everyone else, you can joyfully skip past the crowded stores, prance around the long lines, and observe from a safe distance the frenzied atmosphere that often accompanies the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Excluding yourself from the Christmas shopping nightmare can also bring you and your family back to the intended joy and love that this time of year is meant for (instead of the completely opposite economy-driven intentions for the season).

Put Some Thought Into Your Christmas Shopping Gifts and Intentions

Starting your Christmas shopping early gives you the freedom and luxury to take the time to find thoughtful and meaningful gifts.

Instead of settling for generic presents, you can take the time to consider your loved ones’ preferences and hobbies, ensuring that your gifts truly reflect your appreciation and understanding. There’s also no law that says you can’t ask for ideas of things someone wants or needs.  This helps reduce the chances of it becoming a post-Christmas return or refund.  When in doubt, ask your family or friends to build you an Amazon wish list and share it with you.

Spread Out the Costs to Control Your Christmas Budget

Christmas budgets have a tendency to creep over or get used up fast. By spreading out your shopping over a longer period, you can manage your budget more effectively. This helps prevent overspending in a short period and allows you to take advantage of sales and discounts as they come up, resulting in better financial planning. It will also help you avoid any large credit card debt piles after the season is over and let you start the new year in a good place financially.

Enjoy Less Stress and Love Everything About Christmas All Over Again

One of the major benefits of starting your Christmas shopping early is the reduced stress it brings. Rather than scrambling to find presents at the last minute, you can enjoy a leisurely and enjoyable shopping experience, resulting in a more relaxed and joyful holiday season.  Your family and friends will be impressed!

Take Advantage of Christmas Shopping Sales and Deals

Many retailers offer early bird promotions and discounts for those who begin their Christmas shopping well before the peak holiday shopping period. By starting early, you can score deals and save money on your purchases.

When Should I Start Christmas Shopping: Timeline Recommendations

  • September to October: Begin brainstorming gift ideas, asking for wish lists, and creating a list of your lucky recipients. Keep an eye out for early sales and start buying gifts from your list for close friends and family.
  • November: Press the gas on your shopping efforts.  Safely take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions (other shoppers can get crazy at these events!). This is also a great time to jump on your holiday decorating tasks.
  • Early December: You should have most of your Christmas shopping completed, with only a few items remaining on your nice list. This ensures that you have enough time to wrap your gifts. Add bows, tags, and other personal touches to make your gift giving even more special.
  • Mid to Late December: Use the remaining time before the big day to finalize any last-minute purchases and focus on wrapping and organizing your gifts, such as by family gathering (if you have more than one) or by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Enjoy the holiday festivities with a sense of calm and accomplishment.  (WARNING: your family and friends might notice how relaxed you are and get jealous)

While the holiday season is filled with joy and warmth, it can also be a time of stress and anxiety, especially when it comes to gift shopping. Starting your Christmas shopping early grants you the gift of time, allowing you to find thoughtful presents, stay within your budget, and truly savor the holiday spirit. By following a well-planned timeline, you can navigate the holiday season with ease and make the most of this wonderful time of giving.