NaBloPoMo Prompt: Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?
One year, I decided that I wanted to be done with Christmas shopping early and I started shopping in September - I would just buy things as I saw them for people. I wanted to buy things people would really, really like. As the time went on, I kept finding other things. Then I started to question if the first or second or third things were the right things. Ultimately, I ended up spending about 3 times more money than I wanted to because I kept on buying stuff right up until Christmas Eve. Instead of being smart and spacing the gifts out, I gave them all and it was actually a little embarrassing. The gigantic pile of gifts really seemed crazy. I loved giving people the gifts but it sort of reset the expectations to quantity when really my goal was quality.
After that experience, I decided that I could start in early December but that was about as good as it gets. If I see something really special, I can buy that, but for the most part, I wait.
As for birthdays and whatnot, I usually wait until close to the event - these days, if you buy something ahead of time that you know someone wants, they usually have purchased it by the time the gift-giving holiday rolls around. I usually email myself ideas when I see them and then try to check before the holiday to see if they already have the item or not.