The Joy of Giving: 4 Holiday Hacks for Stress-Free Shopping

(BPT) – Whether you absolutely love shopping for gifts over the holidays or see it as a major source of stress, most people ultimately find gift giving rewarding.

It’s true that 51 percent of consumers worldwide get stressed over holiday shopping crowds and 49 percent feel frazzled deciding which gifts to buy, as informed by a recent Harris Poll commissioned by Amazon. Still, there’s nothing like bestowing well-chosen presents to make your loved ones feel happy and appreciated; Pew Research shows 83 percent of Americans feel joyful at the thought of buying and receiving gifts, while 78 percent feel generous.

“As stressful as holiday gift giving can be, it might be a socially enforced tradition precisely because it makes people feel good in the end,” advises Bourree Lam in The Atlantic. “Psychologists have argued gift giving might benefit the giver more than the gift receiver, and result in important non-material emotional gains. One study found spending money on others results in more happiness than spending on oneself.”

Luckily, smart shopping can easily put the fun back into your gift searches this season. Consider the following suggestions:

* Take the guesswork out of gifting. Discover the best item for everyone on your gift list with curated gift guides online from sites like Amazon. Amazon helps shoppers pick the perfect present with its home, fashion, tech, business and toy gift guides. There are also guides at various price points. Know your budget and browse a selection of top gifts under a certain spending amount. Amazon shoppers can also give the gift of reading with Prime Book Box, a subscription service that delivers curated, hardcover children’s books every 1, 2 or 3 months. The box is ideal for readers (and future book lovers) from baby to 12 years old. Now $19.99 per box, Prime members can save up to 40 percent off List Price.

* Shop deals online. No need to battle crazed shoppers in person; most retailers now offer the same deals online, while many offer free Black Friday shipping to boot. That means you can still save massive money while shopping from the comfort of your couch. Americans clearly love that option; Shopify research indicates U.S. online sales this November and December will reach $123.4 billion, a 16 percent boost over last year. Plus, shoppers can find many early Black Friday deals online now. Amazon’s Black Friday deals store already offers big discounts across categories. Get ahead of the chaos and plan early. Set “Watch a Deal” alerts on the Amazon App to receive notifications when a specific deal is about to go live. That way, you never miss a deal.

* Look to Amazon first. The leading one-stop online shopping destination offers millions of different products, frequently at the best prices available anywhere, with consumer reviews included to help with purchase decisions. Amazon shipping has always been reliable, but in an unprecedented move this holiday season Amazon removed its minimum purchase threshold for all shoppers to receive free shipping on hundreds of millions of items.

* Choose automatic gift wrapping. For a small fee, many online retailers can send your gift choices to you (or straight to the recipient) already beautifully wrapped. Save yourself time by opting in, and include a personal message that makes your gift even more meaningful.

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be just another task to cross off your list. Have more fun with the time-honored tradition of gift giving by planning your strategy ahead and using technology to help you make wise choices.

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