Consumer Guide: Prepare For Christmas Shopping

Start planning for the holidays early, and you will find all the gifts you need without the stress.

Do you remember shopping last year? If you waited to shop until after Thanksgiving, as most people do, every mall and store you went to were probably packed. You had a tough time finding a parking space and had to wait in really long lines. You don't have to do that this year! Just follow these simple tips and you'll sail through the holidays this year.

Start shopping now and you'll actually be able to enjoy the holiday instead of running around like a madman. Of course, you can't buy everything now, but you can get a majority of it. Even if you are not too keen on doing all your shopping now, you can at least start and save yourself some time closer to the holidays.

Clothes are the best thing to buy now. Find out what sizes you'll need and you can buy them now and put them away. There won't be anything different in the store in November than there is now. Plus, you can still get some of the back to school sales.

Toys won't be so easy, but you can purchase some now. A lot of toys are out now, but for those toys that are going to be hot and new for Christmas, you will have to wait. But not too long.

Too early for Christmas cards? To send them out it is, but not to get them ready. Make up your mailing list and if you're going to write a newsletter to include in your cards, you could get started on that.

If you're planning to make your cards, you can start on that too. Something to keep in mind for next year is to buy your cards at the end of the Christmas season when they are fifty to seventy five percent off, and keep them for next Christmas.

One more thing you can start on is baking cookies. Almost everyone makes Christmas cookies. How can you start on them now? Start making and freezing them. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, ladilocks without the icing, peanut butter balls, just about every cookie is freezable. Just don't freeze any icing on the cookies that take icing, freeze them without it and add it later.

Holiday crafts are one last thing you can do now. Holiday craft supplies are now available and you probably have more time now than you will closer to the Christmas season to complete them. Everyone loves a homemade gift, so even if you don't normally do holiday crafts, this can be the year to start them. Most craft stores have classes or kits or ideas for making your own crafts. Check out your local craft store to see what they have for you.

That's about it, but there's plenty to do until the holiday rolls around. Get some of it done now and maybe this year you can actually enjoy the lights and music with a nice glass of eggnog.

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