by Mary Robinson

You probably can't think of anyone who doesn't love Christmas and the weeks leading up to it. But the Christmas season, for many people, can be pretty stressful.

Why? Because it's a challenge for many of us to shop for, and/or find the funds for, gifts. Sure, some people are good at it, but it's an agonizing project for others.

Men, especially, may find it extremely difficult to shop for others. But all of us, men and women, have at least one hard-to-shop-for friend or family member. Some of us have several.

If you try the following holiday shopping suggestions, you will almost certainly find it easier to buy great gifts for your friends and family.

1. Whatever you do, do not procrastinate. Think about gifts for those on your list all year long, and look for good sales. When you see the right gift, buy it immediately and store it until you're ready to wrap all the gifts you're giving.

2. List everybody you want to give a gift to, and note how much you can afford to spend on each of them. Be generous if you wish, but do not spend beyond your means.

3. Do most of your comparative shopping online. You won't believe how quickly you can find good gifts online. You'll save time and have a better chance of finding bargains if you constantly look for them.

4. When trying to decide on a gift, think about what the person you're shopping for likes and/or what he or she needs. Keep in mind their hobbies and their professions.

5. Remember that there is nothing wrong with giving a gift certificate, taking someone out for a special evening, or giving them a check. In fact, students would often rather have money than any other gift.

The bottom line in Christmas shopping is that it doesn't have to be difficult or nerve wracking. By starting early, making and sticking to a budget, and doing a little creative thinking, it can be pretty simple.

About the Author:

Mary Robinson, considered a great shopper by friends and family, usually writes on online degree programs and online colleges for working parents.