October 31, 2009

It's Catalog Season!

Today is Halloween. Tomorrow, all the candy will be on sale and on Monday the holiday catalogs will start to fill your mailboxes.

Now, for some people, catalogs are pure fun--they're flipped through and recycled. For others, catalogs represent temptation. "I need that! I must have it--I never knew I needed it," they cry.

For many of us who feel rushed even when it's not the holiday season, catalogs are our salvation. We don't have to fight the crowds at the mall. We can go shopping at 3 a.m. in our bunny slippers.We can make ourselves and others happy with a phone call or a click of a mouse.

Regardless of the catalog personality you fall into, here are some tips for organizing your catalog shopping experience this holiday season:

• Create a folder or file and label it 'To Buy' or 'Holiday Gifts' or 'Why I'll Be Broke Come January'--whatever speaks to you. This is the place where all information regarding holiday gift giving will live.

• Compile a list of every person you need to purchase a gift for: relatives, friends, teachers, service providers, etc. You can do this on a spreadsheet or a lined pad of paper will work just fine, too.

• Create a few columns going across the page--"Gift Ideas," "Purchase By," "Actual Gift Sent," and "Delivered." "Gift Ideas' is a spot to jot down ideas if you're not 100% sure of what to buy. "Purchase By" is the date that the gift must be purchased to arrive in the recipient's hands on time (pad with extra days if gifts are going through the mail). "Actual Gift Sent' is a spot to record the gift you gave the person so you won't replicate it next year by accident and "Delivered' is the column where you'll write the date the gift was mailed or personally delivered.

• On the back of most catalogs there is an ID# in a colored box that is connected to your information. If you're thinking about making a purchase from a catalog, rip off the back page of the catalog. Then, rip out the pages that contain the items you wish to purchase. Staple these pages to the back page so you are ready with all of your information when you make that call or place your online order. Don't forget to write the name of the gift recipient next to the picture of the item in the catalog--just another way of saving time (which we have so little of this time of year).

The holiday season is just around the corner. I hope these tips will assist you in keeping your gift shopping stress free and organized. If more people shopped via catalogs, there would be less traffic and more parking spots at the mall. Now that's what I call 'stress-free...'

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