Oh my. Yes, you read that right. Christmas is just 100 days away. Does the thought of the holidays have you singing Jingle Bells or thinking bah humbug? Perhaps… it’s a little bit of both.

Whether you are a procrastinator or a planner, we’ve got some suggestions to help you get ahead of the busy holiday season to reduce stress and avoid the crowds.

Make Your List and Check It Twice

We are gift giving people. And that’s a good thing. We give to our work colleagues, friends, family, hair dressers, yoga instructors, kid’s teachers and more. But by giving to so many, it’s easy to forget a few. Now is the best time to make your holiday gift list. The easiest place to start is with the contacts stored in your cell phone. Then, flip through your recent calendar appointments to look for people you may have missed.

Get Creative

Homemade gifts are often the most memorable and appreciated gifts. This could be a photo collage for a family member, a journal with favorite quotes for a friend, favorite recipes and baked goods for your neighbors, or a collection of succulents for a colleague.

Share Something Fresh and New this Season

Everyone gets excited when they find a new product or brand that they love. So, share your personal faves this holiday season. This could be a tasty new snack, coffee blend, lip balm, face mask, book, or candle scent. It’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about the personal connection between you and the gift recipient.

Do Your Research

There is so much competition among retailers for holiday shopping. Just because a product is advertised in a Black Friday ad, doesn’t mean it’s the best pricing. Educate yourself ahead of time, so you will recognize real savings when you see them.

Ugh… the Budget!

After you have made your gift list, assign a spending limit by each name. This step is hard for many people, but it’s probably the most important. Holiday spending can easily get out of hand. The last thing you want is the headache of a high credit card bill in January. Planning ahead now can help you tally up what you expect to spend, so that you can (1) save appropriately and (2) make adjustments before you over spend. And don’t forget to factor in shipping costs when you are tallying up your numbers.

Buy Year-Round

Look for non-perishable gifts like candles, soaps, journals and tumblers that you can buy year-round to save for holiday gifting. These $10 or less items are perfect for small gifts, or they can be bundled together into a nice basket for a bigger impact.

Tis’ the season to plan ahead and let the 100 day count down begin. We hope these simple tips will help you get the jump you need to plan ahead for a stress-free and budget-friendly holiday season.

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