I am a planner. Whether it is professional tasks and goals or structuring my personal life, I seriously enjoy having a clear idea of what I need to do and tick things off my lists. It will come to no surprise that I also apply this approach to Christmas presents. I usually finish my Christmas shopping in October at the latest. Why? Because I want to enjoy the “quiet time of the year” and get into Christmas mood without fighting my way through crowded shopping streets.
Over the past years (pre-Covid), Vienna had become very, very busy in November and December. In 2019, it had reached a point where I refused to go into the city centre because it was so crowded that I could not run my errands. When I observed what was going on around me, I just saw people hurrying from one store to the next, quickly buying anything they could get their hands on. Of course, this has changed drastically due to Covid, but even this morning, I overheard two women discussing their Christmas shopping: “I have nothing so far, I will just get a voucher or something I find tomorrow.”
This is the issue I have with shopping for presents close to Christmas. I would then end up buying just something I can find and it will probably something meaningless. To me, giving presents is all about their meaning. I always try to put myself into the other person’s shoes and think what they would appreciate. I also try to make it personal and special. If I am stressed out, I do not have the time and energy to really think about that. Hence, I start my shopping list very early.
Let me also tell you a little secret: I have a list on my phone where I make notes about potential presents for friends and family throughout the year. If I come across an interesting book in an article, or if the person mentions something to me, or if I see something browsing online, I make a note and when I need a present, I can go back to that list. Without that list, I would have probably forgotten about the gift idea when I needed one and stress out about what to buy for that person.
If I come across something which I would like to use as a present later, I often buy it immediately. I used to hide these presents but because I forgot about them or where I hid them, I just have one box where I keep all the presents. Every year in September, my Christmas list is almost complete and I start ordering the remaining presents. Especially since the start of the pandemic, this has proven to be a good strategy as mail services are running over their capacities in December and many Christmas orders are delayed until the new year.
Because of my meticulous planning, I can now enjoy the days before the holidays without rushing to the stores and making my way through the crowds. (For those who are not in Austria – yes, there are crowds again, especially after the lockdown was lifted last weekend.) I prefer to stay at home, indulge in some Christmas biscuits and hot chocolate and watch cheesy Christmas movies.
I hope you have already finished all your Christmas shopping. Enjoy this week and especially the holidays ahead. Merry Christmas!