Style and Culture Toronto
    How many people have completed their Holiday shopping? How many people refuse to think about Holiday shopping in the middle of October?

     I recently conducted a telephone survey asking those two questions.  I polled 20 friends of varying age demographics, living all acoss Canada, and guess what the survey said?  Eighteen people polled refuse to think of Holiday shopping in the middle of October.  Those two friends who have completed their shopping have recently returned from traveling across Europe for the last few months and decided to snag exotic Christmas gifts along the way.  So, why are we consumers being bombarded by the retail industry to get a move on?

    With emotions running higher than stress levels around the Holiday season, retailers enjoy taking advantage of us, and our hard earned dollars.  We are pressured by the media to start thinking about the Holidays, and perfect gifts for people; all the while our day jobs are draining us with the increase in productivity around the Holidays.  Retailers cash in on our emotionally driven mall trips, and basically shove the Holiday thought down our throats, thus causing our temperatures to rise parallel with our stress levels and we spend.  We splurge up until December 24th, when a new level of stress builds and fails to subside until January 1st.  This double edged sword that we call life around the Holidays needs to take a universal breather.

    So, how do we lower our stress levels, and budget our Holiday spending without falling victim to the retail world, you ask?  My suggestions for the first 2-3 weeks of November are to make a concrete Holiday planner, and stick to it.  In your planner you will make lists of who you have to buy gifts for, your family plans for dinners or gatherings of any type, any groceries or wine, beer, spirits needed for the season and a miscellaneous list.  From the lists created you will devise a budget.  Set a value for your entire seasonal spending and try as hard as humanly possible to stick to it.  Make sacrifices where you can in order to stick to plan.  I  understand that a planner for an entire season is tough to create and keep on top of,  but, think of the time and energy it will actually save.  Think of the ways you can utilize the time you are saving by creating a planner.  People often lose themselves during the Holidays and forget what is really important.  Spending time with family should be a priority on everyones Holiday lists of things to do, not rushing to the mall and staying late at work, and not having enough time to appreciate the season for what its worth.  At the end of the season if you have successfully followed your Holiday planner, you will be able to balance your cheque book and have a rejuvenated mind, body and soul.  So please, do yourselves a favour, and take a few weeks before entering your nearest mall, because trust you me,  the decorations are up, and pushy Holiday help has been hired. So, use that time to create your planner, and embrace the time you still have, and you will be prepared to take the season by the horns!  

As always, Happy Shopping!

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by Lindsay Durney

Copyright ©2005 Lindsay Durnay. All rights reserved.