This is You Won’t Regret It, a new weekly column featuring recommendations, tips, and unsolicited advice from the Mashable culture team.
Come December, malls and stores will be packed full of people looking to find the perfect gifts just in time for the holidays.
The whole experience of shopping for gifts so close to the holidays can be overwhelming and is often fairly unpleasant and pretty costly. But it’s totally possible to avoid most of these pains if you decide to purchase your presents far in advance.
Like, now, for example.
For the past few years I’ve done my Christmas shopping way in advance, and I can not recommend doing this more.
I picked this habit up from my aunt who’s always purchased her gifts throughout the year leading up to the holidays. For a long time I thought this was just an eccentric and somewhat silly practice, but then I realized there’s a method to her madness.
When you purchase gifts extremely far in advance, you avoid spending an outrageous amount of money all at once, and you avoid the claustrophobic, shopper-filled stores. In turn, the holidays become much more enjoyable.
Allow me to fully break down the benefits of buying your presents early:
No lines, baby!
The first and most obvious benefit of buying gifts right now is that you’ll be able to avoid the outrageous lines and chaos that ensues in shops come December. I really can’t emphasize this enough. It’s amazing.
Just imagine it: a low-stress, breezy shopping experience where you don’t have to fight anyone over a sweater or a discounted knife set.
Still need convincing? Look at these shudder-inducing photos from Black Friday.
You can give gifts more consideration
When you don’t feel the crushing pressure to buy the perfect gift within a month or a week’s time, there’s more time to think of a thoughtful present.
You have time to a give a decent amount of consideration as to what your loved ones actually want and need. And because you’re picking these items out early, it’s less likely that you have to worry about other people purchasing them the same gift.
Money won’t be as tight during the holiday season
One of the biggest reasons why I decided to start holiday shopping early was a need to budget my finances. As a writer, I don’t always have an ample cashflow, so purchasing gifts all at once can have a pretty dismal effect on my bank account.
I usually draw up a list of all the people I need to shop for and what I’d ideally like to buy for them, so that I can budget for my shopping and buy gifts for people slowly over time. And then I can actually afford to do the fun, seasonal things I like. I can go ice skating, purchase stocking stuffers I may not have been able to afford otherwise, and I can drink as many hot chocolates as I damn well please.
I should really start Christmas shopping now! So I don’t do it all at once and become broke all at once 🙃lol
— jenni s. (@fvckjenni_) September 27, 2018
Those holiday deals aren’t as great as you think they are
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the capitalist holidays we wait for year round to provide us with the best deals on things we think we probably, definitely need. But is it worth holding off on buying your Christmas presents to see what’s on sale? My take: no, definitely not.
Usually, the best deals you’ll find on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not nearly as good as you think they are, and because of the massive price cuts, we end up buying things just because they’re cheap and not because they’re good.
Director of Content Marketing for Dealnews Lindsay Sakraida told CNBC that you’re actually more likely to find good deals on Thanksgiving rather than Black Friday — and there are even great deals to be found the Monday prior to Thanksgiving. Sakraida also says that typically shoppers end up buying things they don’t need or actually want because they’re surprised to find such good deals and this can result in overspending, unsurprisingly.
And according to last year’s WalletHub calculations, unless an item is discounted at or above 37 percent on Black Friday, it’s not really worth buying — though, this number is likely to change this holiday season.
Come November, you can also expect numerous websites to start reporting breakdowns of the discounts being offered by retailers later that month, meaning you can decide early on whether or not it’s actually worth it to trek to the mall. Techradar is already predicting the big discounts to come on Black Friday and Cyber Monday from Amazon and Apple, so wait if you must for these potential steals.
The one drawback to early gift giving
Despite all of the wonderful aspects of purchasing gifts in advance, there is one glaring drawback: there’s a chance none of the gifts are returnable.
Not everyone is a gift returner, but when it comes to things like clothing, if it doesn’t fit or look right your “giftee” will probably want to return or exchange their gift.
As a general rule of thumb, I’d say that unless you’re convinced that someone will absolutely love their gift, don’t buy it for them.
But hopefully with all the extra time to plan, no one will want to return your lovely gifts.