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Ten Tips for Stress-free Holiday Shopping

Ten Tips for Stress-free Holiday Shopping

(ARA)- No doubt about it, holiday gift shopping can be stressful. However, there's a special joy in finding just the right gift that reconnects you with family and friends you may not see the rest of the year.
Many people are looking to catalogs and the Internet to avoid the screaming kids, long lines and general frenzy of holiday shopping at the mall.
"More and more shoppers are discovering the benefits of shopping from home," says John Baumann, president of The Swiss Colony, a catalog company that's been shipping festive food gifts by mail for many decades. "Even with the popularity of online shopping, however, our customers tell us they still prefer to do so with a catalog in hand. It's just easier to browse a printed catalog and then place their orders by mail, phone or online."
If connecting with loved ones during the holidays is high on your list of priorities, here are some tips designed to reduce stress and free up more time for enjoyment of family and friends.
1. Get organized. Make a list of all those you plan to give gifts to.
2. Divide and conquer. Divide your gift list into at least two parts, and it will be less overwhelming. 1) Immediate family members and close friends with specific wish lists you hope to fulfill; 2) Friends and relatives to whom giving a gift is important to help stay in touch. The former, which requires the most attention and time, then becomes a much shorter list.
3. Determine your spending limit. Avoid post-holiday anguish and establish a budget up front. Then allocate that amount across the names on your list.
4. Be alert. Keep your ears and eyes open when spending time with or talking with your family and friends. They often drop hints that can help you target your shopping to their special needs and desires during the holidays.
5. Browse catalogs for ideas. Before even stepping foot in a store or going online, browse holiday catalogs for ideas and bookmark options for everybody on your list. You can even bring your children into the process, while emphasizing the giving nature of the season.
6. Give a gift of food. Instead of adding to material clutter, give something delicious or decadent to eat--a holiday treat the whole family can gather around and enjoy together. Perhaps it's a party in a box--or a gift tower or basket. Catalogs from food gift companies, like The Swiss Colony, offer hundreds of choices--from a country breakfast to a banquet-sized baked ham, from easy-to-serve hearty snacks to decadent pastries and beautiful hand-decorated confections.
7. Order by phone or online after the kids have gone to sleep. Many catalog companies have a knowledgeable customer-service team available 24/7 to take orders and give advice, so you can call or order online anytime--the sooner, the better to get the best shipping rates.
8. Ask about "your time delivery" and personalized greetings. The Swiss Colony, for example, lets you order any time of year with shipment for a later date. They also offer personalized greetings--including greeting cards, if you order online--to enclose with your gifts.
9. Make sure satisfaction is guaranteed. Check a company's policy on returns and refunds in case something does not meet expectations.
10. Keep a paper trail. Copy or print your order form and file it away, just in case you need to follow up later on.
Follow these simple steps, and you're bound to find more time for what's most important at this special time of year--the company of family and good friends. And don't forget to give yourself a gift. You deserve it for making the holidays special.
Call (800) 804-5188 for holiday shopping advice or a copy of The Swiss Colony catalog, or visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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