Why NOW is the Time to Start Christmas Shopping

I know, I know, Christmas is still months away. Heck, the stores just started putting out Halloween decorations. Why would it be time to start Christmas shopping now?

Well, that’s a great question, and there are many reasons why. First, let’s delve into the debt that people tend to go into because of the holidays.

How Much Does the Average Family Spend?

Well, turns out, the average family spends about $1000 on winter holiday spending. That’s not really chump change. Heck, that’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that most households in the United States are living paycheck to paycheck, and a small expense can really set them back. A thousand dollars though? Well, that’s a lot more than just a little expense, we’re talking a full month of rent in a lot of places. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have that kind of money just laying around.

Now, you may be thinking, there is no way I spend anywhere close to that! But, have you actually taken the time to add up all your Christmas-related expenses? Here are a majority of the things most people are spending their money on;

  • Gifts (Yeah, I know I went with the obvious one first), but there are often more people you buy for than you think about.
    • your children
    • your significant other
    • your parents
    • your siblings
    • nieces and nephews
    • your friends
    • coworkers (a lot of offices and workplaces do a secret Santa type gift exchange every year)
    • neighbors
    • teachers
    • bus drivers
    • grandparents or grandchildren
  • Christmas Dinner (or in many cases, dinners, which can mean a lot of turkeys or hams.)
    • one with each side of the family
    • Christmas Day with your immediate family
    • Christmas dinner with your friends
  • Decorations
    • Maybe you get a live Christmas tree every year
    • those new decorations for your chosen theme
    • replacing the items that get wear and tear
    • The decorations for the outside of your house
  • Christmas Baking Supplies
    • Candy and gingerbread houses
    • Cookie exchanges
    • Treats for whenever friends or family come over.

While it’s obvious not everyone will have all of these expenses, a lot of people will have at least half. Needless to say though, it all adds up. Here’s how to create a Christmas budget and stick to it.

Why should I start Christmas shopping now?

That is a very good question! With all the things you’re going to have to buy, if you start prepping now, you’ll have a bit more time to start putting things away and spread out your expenses so it’s not all one lump sum that goes straight on the credit card in a panic the two weeks leading up to the big day. It gives you time to create a sinking fund, and boy can that ever make a difference.

Not only that, but when you start planning ahead, it gives time for you to get creative and make things. I personally LOVE receiving homemade gifts, and further down, I’ve got a list of ideas of things you can make. I will say now though, that when you make something, you’re putting your time and effort and energy into it, and I personally find that it really shows you care.  I won’t say homemade gifts are always free to make, but they’re often less of a strain on the old purse strings.

You don’t have to get EVERYTHING done right now to the point that you are sick of Christmas by the time December rolls around. Just start making a plan and putting some simple things aside and you will find that life is much easier come holiday time.

Supply chain issues

This year, we’re going to be facing supply chain issues. The shelves are already bare in many stores and things are only going to get worse. Truckers are slowing down. Cargo ships are stuck off the coast of California. A major shipping port closed in China due to Covid. We discuss the supply chain issue in-depth on our sister site, The Organic Prepper.

Particularly if there is a must-get on your list, you should begin looking for it right away.

What can I start doing now?

Not only can you start putting back money for the holidays now, but you can also start making some homemade gifts. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love a gift that someone puts their time and effort into making for me. It just feels so much more special. Here are some ideas of thing you can be making.

  • Hand Knit or Crocheted items – Depending on how big you want the gift, you can easily make things like scarves, blankets, hats, dishcloths, pot holders, stuffies, clothing (like shawls). The possibilities and patterns are endless. And, if you’re not sure how to do it, YouTube is filled with video tutorials.
  • Paintings or Drawings – Love to paint? This is one I do often for my friends and family. I will make paintings that are inspired by the person. Pro tip – I usually do paintings on canvases, because then you don’t need to worry as much about framing it, they can hang on the wall nicely as is.
  • Carve or Build Something – If you’re great at woodworking, try making something. Could be a hand-carved toy, a small piece of furniture (one year, when we were both kids, my grandfather built my sister a window seat for Christmas,  over 10 years later and she still uses it). Here is a list of tons of great ideas.
  • Soaps and Sugar Scrubs
  • Candles – Try these DIY Tea Cup candles. There are tons of teacups to be found at thrift stores and yard sales.
  • Personalize Products with Family PhotosVistaprint has a wide array of gifts that you can print, everything from mugs, to photo calendars, blankets, and everything in between. Plus, the mail to both Canada and the USA.
  • Crafts with Mason Jars – There are some pretty cool things you can make, and this site has a million different fun ideas.
  • Baked GoodsCookies, pies, baked goods. Heck, one year I even made a lasagna as Christmas gifts!
  • Canned Goods – think jams, jellies, sauces, all that fun stuff.

When do you start Christmas shopping?

There are so many reasons why we need to start Christmas shopping and ways to make it cheaper. When do you start your shopping? What are some frugal homemade gifts you make? Grab some cocoa and let’s talk Christmas in the comments.

Why NOW is the Time to Start Christmas Shopping
Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future.

7 thoughts on “Why NOW is the Time to Start Christmas Shopping”

  1. add’l expenses include new clothes and haircuts for events you attend, gift wrappings, extra gas for all the running around, etc, etc, etc!

  2. Nice ideas! I pretty much make my own cards – I draw and paint mine but some people use stamps, cut out colored paper, calligraphy, or something else. I have to admit that a lot of the savings around the holiday season come from pretty much not celebrating most of it. There are so many ways a person can decorate on the cheap though, and even adding some holiday themed spices to normal foods can make things a bit more special. One of the best ways to save money in the holidays though is to avoid all commercials!

    (I may be joking a bit there but it’s amazing how much a person “needs” something after they see a well done ad for it, even when they lived just fine without it just prior.)

  3. Great ideas for home made, especially in these times! Honestly, I celebrate by doing good things for my fellow human. I ring a bell for the Salvation Army, clean litter pans for the animal shelter, that kind of thing. I may attend a public supper for the fellowship or treat myself to an exquisite meal out. I can’t imagine spending $1000 on any holiday! Yikes!

    The only other thing I would add is: pay cash. No plastic! Saving up money in the style of the old Christmas clubs really helps. Santa doesn’t like debt lol

  4. I used to be one of those parents and grandparents that spent $1200 or more on Christmas every single year. All on plastic and then had to pay it all off in January. A couple years ago I snapped that I was not celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, and had a problem with consumerism. So I stopped buying all the newest expensive gadgets that would be broke by Dec 26th and started giving out religious items and prepping items, practical things. I bought the kids 1 gift the day after Christmas last year, got adult children 1 prepping item. That’s it. It’s about being with family and to me, celebrating the birth of Jesus.

  5. My folks always had a Christmas Club account at their bank. I suspect they put in around $20 a month, if that much. Even if you could only save $1 per week, $52 is better than nothing. I recently read a story a woman wrote about her parents during the Depression. Her Dad delivered bread – horse/carriage if memory serves. A truck came up for sale and since her Mom managed to save something each week, often less than $1, they had the money.

  6. I would like to start purchasing gifts now for Christmas, but am concerned about the return window closing prior to the holiday.
    Of course that doesn’t apply to your wonderful suggestions for homemade gifts!

  7. Agree with Texasantigone!! I celebrate Christmas by observing it as a strictly religious holy day. Dinner with friends is a pot-luck, with the host/hostess supplying the meat. I make good pies, so that’s my contribution. I give no gifts nor do I want any. Everyone I know has enough, so I do give more to the church for missions and local charities we support. That is all I do.

    Growing up my mother was so frazzled by Christmas afternoon she would break down in tears. We would have to eat oatmeal towards the end of January so the bills could be paid. No, no, no. I would have preferred a happier mother with no gifts or decorations than having to suffer through her angst at not being perfect.

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