As we head into the fall season, before we know it holiday shopping will be on top of us, along with the stress that seems to accompany our loving gifts.   How do we manage to give while saving?  Exercise new ways of being this holiday season.

 Being responsible & plan ahead!

This might seem like an article a bit early in the season to discuss holiday shopping, and therein we come to the first point – plan ahead!!! Shoppers – we all know we want to, get to, buy gifts for our loved ones – and we do it every year.  So this year, plan ahead, budget, take advantage of real discounts & build up your stash of affordable goodies!  What I like to do is focus on what falls within my budget for each person, focusing on staying within the dollar amount for the most part instead of a specific product or brand.  Having a plan will reduce your holiday stress by 50% like the sales you can now take advantage of!!

Be a leader – start Secret Santa…

For large extended families that you will see during the holidays, it can be exhausting to buy a gift for each member and their children.  Be a leader and create Secret Santa or similar group gifting events, where each person selects only one other person or family to give a gift to.  Trust me, I have found that everyone prefers it!  Or, if you spend the holidays with a family, find a gift that everyone can share like an ice-cream maker or a new media gadget while remembering you fondly all year long.

Being creative – make it!

Making your gift!  It’s an old idea but a great one.  Whether you love to bake, cook, build, paint or make jewelry  – we all appreciate a thoughtful, handmade gift.  Nothing says effort or a personal touch more – and it means that you get to save money while being more thoughtful.  This summer, I learned how to do some beadwork and plan to use it to make some beautiful beaded bracelets for my girlfriends.

Serving sweetly

Instead of spending money this year, spend your time with a loved one.  For your friend, the really busy girl or guy friend give them an IOU to babysit, take care of some errands or cook a meal for the family.  Offer your parent friends a fun day off while you take care of all the cleaning. Your friends and family will love you for this kind act of service and the gift of your time, we could all use a little help in our lives.  (Do make sure you follow up and schedule it to make it happen).

Being resourceful … research

Do your research – for big-ticket electronic purchases find out what the truly tech savvy have to say about value for money and best products. Some great links are,,, and to check for price comparisons and reviews/ratings.  Start looking out for online coupons and discount codes.   It helps now that you’re planning ahead J   For some of you running late even with the best of intentions, don’t forget that merchants provide free shipping on December 17th  for delivery by Christmas Eve. For more details check the list on

Wishing you all the best and the gift of joy as you celebate in the upcoming holiday season.