Early-bird tips for Christmas gift shopping

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
Early-bird tips for Christmas gift shopping
From cosmetic kits, to checkbook holders and notepads, these are some personalized gift items I’ve had made over the years that I still use today.

MANILA, Philippines — It’s Sept. 26 and that also means 90 days till Christmas!

Though the pandemic is not yet over, mobility has increased. Schools are inching their way to having 100 percent of their students onsite for face-to-face classes, traffic is horrible, number coding is enforced, and Jose Mari Chan is again dominating the airwaves.

Since the Yuletide season is just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to share a few early-bird tips with my dear readers to help them avoid the Christmas rush and make their holiday season less stressful and more joyous.

Make your Christmas list as early as now. Ask your spouse (if you have one) for his/hers as well to avoid duplication.

Categorize the names on your list. In my case, I have listed them under these categories: Condominium personnel — since I live in a condo, I give gifts to the security guards, maintenance and office personnel to thank them for their service; office staff, officemates and bosses; friends and godchildren; and family, which includes mom, siblings, nephews, nieces and select cousins.

Set a budget and stick to it so as not to go overboard and find yourself in a financial bind.

After you have done this, the fun part begins — hunting and searching for the best gifts within your budget.

I must admit that I love giving personalized gifts. Every year for almost 10 years, I’ve been on the lookout for suppliers who can make such items. Since I order a lot, the suppliers give me a bulk discount and they work within my budget as well. To me, a special, personalized gift shows how much the sender values the receiver.

I am also more partial to giving away practical gifts (that I myself will use) over food, simply because I enjoy seeing my loved ones still using the gifts I gave them long after Dec. 25. I have gifted my nearest and dearest with notepads, tote bags, glass mugs, luggage tags, checkbook holders, travel cubes, shoe bags, cosmetic kits, gift cards and stationery pads.

This year, I have decided to give personalized wallets to many. For the condo personnel, I went to Divisoria one weekend and bought stainless steel utensils sets (spoon, fork and knife) that cost less than 50 pesos. They came in a nice, sturdy plastic container that is ideal for their baon. I also bought gift bags and wrapping paper in Divi, but I will have to make another trip soon to buy boxes for the wallets when they arrive.

Around this time, I start ordering my personalized gift tags and ribbons as well. I also love wrapping gifts, which I find very therapeutic. Before I begin wrapping, I need to set the proper mood and be in my favorite spot, sitting at the dining table.

After making sure that my “tools” are within reach — the tape dispenser, scissors, a box of ribbons, gift cards, and pen — I light up the Christmas tree and put on Christmas songs or switch on the TV. I carefully wrap each gift and then finish it up with a nice ribbon and a short note and move on to the next one. Ideally, I start sending out my presents by the first week of December to declutter my house. This way, if I have forgotten anyone, there is time to make “habol.”

Have a wonderful holiday season, dear readers!


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