I will be perfectly honest; I am guilty of waiting until the last week before Christmas to start shopping on more than one occasion. While it might have saved me a few trips to the mall earlier in the season, it added a massive element of stress that I didn't need. I've made this list to give you a few reasons why starting your Christmas shopping earlier in the year, even just in September or October can be extremely beneficial.
1. It is Never Too Early To Start Shopping
After Christmas is over, head to your local dollar store or retail store and stock up on Christmas wrapping paper and generic Christmas cards. As soon as Christmas is over, all the Christmas stuff goes on sale for at least half price. Throw it in a box and save it for next year, you will save a ton of money and won't have to scramble to find wrapping paper at 2 am on December 24th.
2. Spreading out The Gifts is Easier on the Bank Book
If you go to the mall mid December and expect to buy everybody a present all at once, you are going to rack up one hell of a bill. What I suggest doing is building a list for all the people you need to buy for. If you need to buy for 10 people, try to start 10 weeks away from Christmas and buy one gift a week. While you will probably still spend the same amount of money, it will be spread across multiple pay checks and will help prevent you from being broke the week of Christmas.
3. Shopping Mall Hell
Going to the mall is pretty much a major burden as soon as the Christmas rush begins. Xmas is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable period, not a hell bent shopping experience that causes hair loss and ulcers due to stress levels. If you start your shopping early you can avoid the massive crowds and the lines that seem to go on forever. One tip for those of us who are procrastinators, the mall tends to be the quietist during the day on weekdays, so if you do wait until the last minute, try taking a late lunch at work and hitting the malls while everybody else is working.
4. Going Going Gone
The one time of the year when everything is a commodity is Christmas. If you wait until the last minute to go shopping, there is a very good chance the gifts you were planning to get for your loved ones might not be available. This is especially true for people living in smaller towns. If you know what you want to get somebody, get it before the next guy.
5. Gifts That Need To Be Mailed
If there is one thing aside from the malls that are busy around Christmas time, it is the post office. If you have to mail gifts, you definitely are going to be aware that there are typically delays around the happiest time of the year. If you wait until the last minute to shop, you are going to be mailing it even more last minute which will most likely result in your Christmas gift becoming a New Years gift!
6. Online Shopping Shipping Delays
If you are ultra lazy and not only wait to the last minute to shop, but also shop online, take into consideration the information provided in tip #5. If you plan on shopping online, make sure you have completed all of your shopping by the end of the first week of December. Not only is the postal system busy, but the people from the online stores also need to arrange to ship many more items than normal which results in delays even getting your item to the post office.