Do you have a present box in your home? This is a simple idea, but if you are not already using it you might find it a handy tip to use.
With seven children to buy for at Christmas and birthdays, (and we tend to go overboard a bit with presents - we still have a sack for each of the grown children!), plus all the gifts they have needed to take when they are attending the birthdays of friends, I've found it a real time and money saver to have a box that I keep more or less full of potential gifts, ready to be used at any time. Mine is a good-sized cardboard box with a lid, (actually, sometimes two or three boxes), that I keep under the bed or in the bottom of my cupboard.
I also don't love shopping that much.. so whenever there are really great sales on, whether online or at my favourite shops, or whenever I visit the big discount centres like DFO or Harbourtown, I shop 'til I drop and come home with bags full of gifts I think I will need in the future. I'm a bit like a robot as I whisk through each store, all programmed up with the names and ages of all our family members, with some ideas of what they might like, my head skimming from side to side, alert to any bargains within the radius of my purview... - or at least that's how I imagine myself, which makes the whole 'I'm out shopping' thing just a lot more exciting I think :)
Mostly though, I'm pretty much always on the lookout whenever I do need to be at the shops. So for instance: perhaps I happen to pass Prouds' Jewellers while I am on my way to a haircut, and notice that they have a 60% off sale on all their sterling silver. I go in, reconnoiter, and emerge 15 minutes later with a lovely bracelet and earrings for Bethy's birthday in two months, some earrings and a necklace for Tammy for Christmas, 3 lovely little bracelets that were a terrific price, that I think our twin boys might be interested in as birthday presents for friends, etc. And it all goes in to the present box, to join some books ready for various grandchildren, some children's clothes and toys for next Christmas, some of Abby's favourite hair products that were on a great special, etc, etc. If you do this all year, you will have almost all you need before you even get to Christmas.
Another of the benefits of shopping in advance is that I miss the dreaded Christmas rush, thank goodness!
Do you like this idea? Are you already doing something simliar?