7 Reasons to Start Your Holiday Shopping Now ...

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I admit it: I'm a crazy person. I've already finished most of my holiday shopping, and it's only mid-October. But while my friends and family merely roll their eyes at me, and assume it's part of my larger OCD, I keep my mouth shut and bask in the truth. I won't be anywhere near a mall on Christmas Eve, frantically searching for a last-minute gift for Gramma. I got started early, and will be calm and relaxed while they're all going crazy at Christmas. There are a lot of advantages to starting your holiday shopping early... here are my 7 reasons to start your holiday shopping now!

1. Not One Big Budget Hit

Not One Big Budget Hit

Photo Credit: anthonyimages

If you split your holiday shopping across months, rather than weeks, your pocketbook won't feel the pinch in quite the same painful way. Here's an example: if your budget over all is $1,000, over five weeks, that's $200 per week. If you split it up across 10 weeks, though, that's only $100 per week, a much more manageable amount.

2. More Variety

If you start your holiday shopping in the late summer or early fall, you'll have access to three seasons' worth of shopping, not just one (winter)... which means more variety, and more fun shopping! Maybe you'd prefer to buy something other than heavy sweaters and gloves... if you shop early, you can give light scarves and even sandals!

3. More Time to Be Thoughtful

The more time you have to think about what to give your friends and family, the better and more meaningful the gifts will be. If you're rushed, trying to buy for everyone, you might even resort to a gift card. Or worse, a Snuggie!

4. Less Stress

Less Stress

Photo Credit: Nic Temby

Even if your holiday shopping is only half-done at Thanksgiving, you'll feel a lot less stress going into the holiday season knowing that if nothing else, you can always finish online. Less traffic, fewer screaming kids at the mall, less slogging your way through slushy parking lots to get to a store only to find out they're sold out of the iPod you want.

5. You Can Still do Stocking Stuffers

People often ask me if, because I get my shopping done so early, I miss any of the fun holiday shopping events. No way! I always save stocking stuffers for the holiday season, so I can feel a little of the holiday shopping love, and so the food items (like the chocolate oranges) don't go stale!

6. Time to Check for Sales

Time to Check for Sales

Photo Credit: Nigel Dourley

If there's a particular item you know you'll be getting someone for the holidays, starting your shopping early means you'll have more time to hunt (or just wait) for a great sale price. Websites like woot.com offer daily deals, so the earlier you start, the better the chance that one item you want can be found!

7. Make Your Friends Jealous

Make Your Friends Jealous

Photo Credit: [Katsumi]

And for the last, and most wicked item on the list: while your friends are out there in the snow, stressing and complaining and getting a migraine, you'll be at home, by the fireplace, drinking cocoa and wrapping gifts... or having coffee at Starbuck's watching all the exhausted holiday shoppers walking by... Doesn't it feel kind of good to make your friends just a little jealous once in a while?

Those are most of the reasons I start my holiday shopping in the late summer, and now I'll never go back to starting my shopping in December again! When do you start your holiday shopping, and why? Are you an early-bird like me? Please let me know!

Top Photo Credit: bugsandfishes by lupin