An unconventional Christmas

Published 12:05 pm Monday, December 8, 2008

‘Tis the season to empty your wallet and stand in line while buying last minute gifts at big department stores.

More than likely, you are full of anything but holiday cheer. It’s Christmas after all and that means shopping, and lots of it. But while others fight the parking lots and checkout lines, I encourage you to be smarter than the masses and find ways to have an unconventional Christmas.

Yes, this new type of Christmas will still be full of presents and good eats, but creating a strategy for your shopping plan of attack and a little thought in getting creative can not only save you some headaches, but also some cash.

My top suggestion for surviving holiday shopping is to start early, as in a month ago. So, maybe you missed out on that one, but you can still catch in on tip number two — shop smart.

If you think about all the errands you run daily, you might be surprised at how often you stop in stores full of fabulous, untouched Christmas goodies. Think about it — the florist, the gym, the thrift store, even the grocery store. Yes, someone might be deflated to find a gift bag full of thrifted goodies, but if they are an avid treasure seeker, grab them a gift certificate from Alabama’s Thrift Stores. If they have been going to the gym or talking about it for months, add on to their membership as a holiday gesture. You can also pick up gift cards at Dollar Tree and Walmart that are sure to get used. And don’t forget that CVS and Rite Aid now carry gift cards for most major retailers, making this a quick one-stop shop for gift cards from Amazon to Outback.

Wanting a more personalized gift?

Try alternative shopping locales. One option that comes to mind is a great piece of handmade wall art from a local talent — Stephanie Kay Smith at The Blue Building on Highway 31 in Pelham. Priced at around $75, these one of a kind paintings are unique and thoughtful presents. While there, you can cross someone else off your list with some great locally made candles with a bounty of other gifts including antiques, handmade jewelry and home d├ęcor.

So, make this holiday shopping what it should be – stress-free and unconventional. Instead of lines and crowds, enjoy that time with your loved ones and trying to guess what gifts are under your tree.