Momma Told Me: Simple Holiday Survival Tips For The Modern Shopper

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Simple Holiday Survival Tips For The Modern Shopper

***This content is not sponsored. I am not a financial adviser or expert in any capacity, all information contained below should be taken with that in mind.
Momma Told Me: There's not much of the holiday spirit in mowing down your neighbor with a shopping cart.

While many Americans mark the holiday season as beginning the day after Thanksgiving, I always begin to feel the crunch of my impending plans and responsibilities the day after Halloween. In fact, the past few years, I have made a point to complete the majority of my holiday shopping throughout the year. The only downside to that is opening up a China cabinet drawer in May and realizing 'that's' where you stored Uncle Marty's gift. No matter your traditions, or responsibilities within your family (small or big), there's really no one 'right' way to tackle the holiday chores that make this season so very special. And, as true as that may be, I've gathered a few of my favorite suggestions to help you get through your holiday prep having lost just a little less hair.
While the average toy price point has gone up 23x since Momma was a young girl, there are still ways to cut stress and costs covering Billy's toys from mom and pop and, of course, Santa. First, many people don't realize that there are coupons for department stores, and even big brand toy store chains (Toys R Us). While most kids scramble to circle everything in The Big Toy Book, parents should be keeping an eye out in the Sunday papers as early as November 1st, for special percentage off coupons and exclusive bundle prices found at these big retailers. Kohl's, Sears, Macy's and more publish yearly discount coupons that often expire the week of Thanksgiving. While we are programmed to think the best deals are on Black Friday, we often forget that stores are less likely to 'entice' us in, afterwards, because consumers will be shopping good prices or not. If you have to shop big brand stores and department stores after Black Friday, try taking advantage of Small Business Saturday instead, or use sites like RetailMeNot to search online discount codes, and Brad's Deals for the hottest deals online.
Making gifts at home isn't always practical during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Growing up, a favorite of mine was fresh baked goods packaged in holiday tins (sold at craft stores, Big Lots, Target and more). Unfortunately, those types of perishable gifts must be baked right up against a holiday, or gifted in advance. Throughout the year I am always keeping an eye out for clearance bins that might have a product I can 'spruce up' in value with minimal cost. For example, pick up that small Elvis coffee pot on clearance in July and pair it with some Hot Chocolate necessities for the Elvis nut in your life. I grabbed a commuter cross-body bag for $5 on clearance at Walgreens a few months back and customized it to Sabrina (11)'s tastes with a few iron on patches. I was even able to order her name on a patch for just a few dollars shipped. Total gift cost, $12!
One of the biggest holiday hurdles if keeping the younger family members occupied during vacation, while the adults run around wrapping gifts and cooking turkeys. Pre-plan some holiday activities that can be saved for these busy days and set your youngsters up in a well visible area with an age appropriate project. Gingerbread cookies/houses, sugar cookie decorating, candy cane wreaths, and even untangling holiday lights can occupy children for hours.

If you're like me and have a limited Winter wardrobe for parties and family gatherings, stress less about your threads- Wear a simple, clean outfit that is classy enough for the event's dress code, but not too over the top. Pick out a piece of jewelry, a scarf, or an overcoat to be the star of your outfit. This works especially well if you have a piece of jewelry that you were given by someone at the event the prior year- People are more likely to focus on one focal point, rather than your skirt or the leggings you wore. Give them one specific accessory that really stands out and you'll brush through the fashion radar without having to buy a whole new outfit.
As sill as it sounds, all the running around picking up tubs of mashed potatoes and fighting over the last Laugh With Me Elmo can really take a toll on your health. Not only there an increased multitude of  shoppers out in public places, increasing the chance of the spread of colds and disease, but your immune system will be naturally weakened by the exhaustion and stress of the season's preparation. Be sure you are taking the proper vitamins and supplements to keep you alert and drink lots of water (yes, even in the Winter), to stay well hydrated. You don't have to wear a face mask to escape the mall without the flu, just ensure you are taking plenty of time to recharge at night, and eating a well balanced diet during the day to keep yourself active.

What Daughter Says: The holidays can get the better of the best of us. Be sure to stop and take a breath- the season will pass, and be back around soon enough!


  1. All very wise tips. Especially take care of you. For if that does not happen all of the rest will not matter.

  2. I swear I need to write this on the mirror at home

  3. Definitely need to take care of yourself during the holiday season. Great tips!

  4. I often shop online to avoid the crazy crowds. Great tips for staying healthy and minimizing stress.

  5. Great tips! Holiday time is so stressful for me so taking a pause and deep breath will be something I'll do a lot haha.

  6. Very good tips! I love handmade items from my daughter.

  7. The holidays are so stressful and I keep wondering why. It's because we lose sight of the spirit of the season. We are supposed to be of good cheer! Great tips for staying sane!

  8. I try really hard not to push too much during the holidays but it's not easy.

  9. So many excellent tips. We all know them but how often do we NOT live by them? Shopping online is one thing that really helps.

  10. i will be shopping online this year to avoid the crowds with my newborn baby!