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is it time for Christmas yet?

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The answer to that question is no. Of course.

I’m currently avoiding the shops in an attempt to avoid spending money, so I don’t know if the Christmas things are up yet as they seem to be in the US. But, we’ve had the last bank holiday for four months now, and I once again feel that this is the homeward stretch towards the end of the year.

As a sensible personal finance sort of person, I like to have a sensible Christmas. I make a list of people I need to buy for, budget an amount per person, and set up a total list. I also have autumn / winter birthdays to buy for - starting in mid-October. This all falls into the same shopping pile, mentally at least. I prefer to get my shopping completed before the end of November, because I don’t like shopping when it’s busy.

All of this means that I like to get a grip on Christmas hideously early. I don’t start celebrating until the end of December, but I know that it’s coming. I hate rushing around, and gift buying is really important to me, so I’ve started thinking about it already. I’m not the only one, the Houseworks Holiday Plan begins next week. I don’t have nearly enough to do to make that worthwhile - I hate cleaning, and I don’t entertain, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my forward planning.

If you’re the sort of person that can do Christmas quickly, easily and on budget by starting on the 1st of December, more power to you. I’m not. If I’m going to get things done and enjoy myself, I need to leave plenty of time. I’m not ashamed of sorting myself out now (pretty much got a budget for everything decided) and neither should anyone else be. After all, if you’re running round the shops at the end of the year, you can’t complain that you didn’t have enough warning.

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11 comments for “is it time for Christmas yet?”

  1. I’m the same, or I am this year anyway - I actually started looking at this stuff in July. I hate Christmas shopping - the crowds stress me out, but so does the feeling that I’m not really in control, buying stuff that I haven’t spent much time thinking about and not tracking how much I’m spending.

    This year, and hopefully from now on, I just have a Wordpad file called ‘Presents’ with a heading for each family member/friend to buy something for, and ideas for what to get them. I’ve been jotting down on it anytime something occurred to me, and now have a decent-sized list of possible presents to sift through.

    I also have a budgeted amount for each person’s birthday & Christmas, as well as Mother’s Day etc.

    Once I’m sure of what I’m getting, I’m buying it off Amazon or Play.com (or similar) and stashing it away. With luck I might even be able to wrap them all by about October, and forget about them. You have no idea how much satisfaction this would bring me.

    (None of this is because I am anally retentive. It is all because I am cool.)

    Posted by Kirn | August 27, 2008, 12:32 pm
  2. You seem from some of your last few posts like a master of organization. I shop late (at the airport on one occasion) which I’m sure costs me. It’s a bad habit. But I hate shopping. I’m a bit neurotic about booking my Xmas travel early though, having been stuck unable to get a flight to Dubbilin in the past, and have actually been researching trips to the Bahamas all week!

    Posted by guinness416 | August 27, 2008, 12:40 pm
  3. I’m not a master of organisation at all - quite the reverse. I get bursts of energy for this stuff and which gets me 80% of the way there. The other 20% may or may not happen.

    Posted by plonkee | August 27, 2008, 12:46 pm
  4. If I see Christmas stuff in a store at this time of year, I will turn around and walk out. I’m fed up with the increasing commercialization of this holiday.

    Posted by ToughMoneyLove | August 27, 2008, 3:22 pm
  5. I love planning for Christmas (it’s a sickness). Luckily I no longer exchange gifts with friends so I only have family to sort, unfortunately over half of them have their birthday within 3 weeks of Christmas, so like you, I combine them for planning purposes (not gift purposes).
    Since I moved abroad I’ve gotten organised even earlier so that I can mail everything surface instead of airmail (usually the end of October).
    This year I’m moving it further forward so I can send my visiting relatives home with their Christmas gift in their suitcase. I’ve already ordered or purchased most gifts and should have everything except hand made items sorted by the end of September.
    If only I could be as committed to planning other aspects of my life.

    Posted by Looby | August 27, 2008, 3:23 pm
  6. I can’t believe it’s actually time to start thinking about this again soon. It seems to begin earlier and earlier every year!

    Posted by FruGal | August 27, 2008, 3:27 pm
  7. Argh! Christmas. I always tend to be sympathetic to ole Scrooge!

    My family is fine with gifts of money for birthdays, but Christmas requires thoughtful gifts geared toward individuals. Maybe if I were a nicer person, I would like doing this more?

    Posted by Grace | August 27, 2008, 3:45 pm
  8. @Tough Money Love:
    Honestly, I do know what you mean, but I think planning well can help you avoid over-commercialisation and stress.

    Christmas isn’t for everyone. I don’t think it reflects on the nice-ness of people and other people’s expectations can be very trying.

    Posted by plonkee | August 27, 2008, 7:20 pm
  9. Argh - would love to start buying for Christmas now, but I just haven’t budgeted! You must be much more organised than me. :)

    Posted by Miss Thrifty | August 27, 2008, 8:32 pm
  10. I am thinking about this too. I knit so if I’m gonig to finish something by the holidays, especially if I can’t knit around certian people, it’s time to get started.

    I’m also thinking about making soap/bath items for my girlfriends and need to start expirementing with recipies.

    It’s also nice to think about what people would like outside of the frenzied craziness of the holidays.

    Posted by sara l | August 27, 2008, 11:27 pm
  11. I don’t know what is going on in stores in England, but here in the US a lot of places are offering good deals on merchandise now because of the slow economy.

    I don’t have a lot of shopping to do at Christmas anymore because my siblings and I all agreed the only people we would buy for would be our parents and our two nephews. Since my parents are in their 80s and don’t need any more stuff, I usually get them grocery store gift cards, which they really like. My nephews are in college and are always happy with money.

    I started a Christmas Club account at my bank last spring and have put in a few dollars here and there. So far, I am almost up to $350, which is about all I will need for gifts and holiday charity donations. Some banks will let you arrange for direct deposit to a sub-account to make holiday saving automatic.

    Posted by Kate | August 28, 2008, 12:58 pm

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