The holiday season is full of warmth and good times, but it is also a flurry of gift buying, decorating and consumer excitement. It’s hard not to get caught up in all of the twinkle lights, sales and festive fervor, but it’s vital you maintain a financial equilibrium so ringing in 2013 won’t be a fiscal conundrum.
Create a budget
“Once you have your list, assign a dollar amount on what you are comfortable spending for each person and then spend some time thinking of appropriate gifts within your price range,” says Justyn Volesko, J.D., LL.M., Managing Partner of AJ Wealth. ”Stick to your budget. Plan, and then plan some more. Your budget should not only include the down payment on a large purchase, it should also represent the full amount of the purchase.”
Abbot Kinney First Fridays
Main Street to Washington Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291
Many people do their holiday shopping under the gun and end up spending more money than necessary. A comprehensive list of your gift recipients will help keep things in perspective. Include everyone from Grandma Blanche to Jack the dog. Abbot Kinney, known for its eclectic group of merchants, offers First Fridays, when its retailers and restaurants showcase their products, fashions and services. This is an ongoing activity in the area and a great place to start on your holiday shopping. Find unique gifts including one-of-a-kind jewelry from Made In Earth (1506 Abbot Kinney Blvd.), celebrity-fave LF Stores (1312 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) and couture wines from Primitive Wine Bistro (1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd.).
L.A. Fashion District Sample Sales
110 E. 9th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90079
The L.A. Fashion District Sample Sales are a hidden gem that only Los Angeles insiders know about. Held on the last Friday of the month, shop a wide selection of luxurious fashion and accessories that have graced the pages of high-fashion women’s magazines at deeply discounted prices. Participants include California Market Center, Cooper Design Space, Gerry Building and The New Mart. Not all showrooms are involved in the sample sales each month; it’s best to check in with the L.A. Fashion District prior to your shopping spree so you can navigate efficiently.
Give an experience
Santa Monica Playhouse
1211 4th St., Suite 201
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1391
Price: $39.50 6 p.m./$49.50 9:30 p.m.
Gifts come in all shapes and sizes and the cliché, “It’s the thought that counts,” rings true when you give a loved one something truly special. The Santa Monica Playhouse offers unique shows for the whole family, including “the Annual All-New One-Time-Only New Year’s Eve Revue,” an annual celebration to ring in the New Year with music and holiday cheer. Children are invited to the 6 p.m. performance, and families can receive special discounts. The evening includes champagne or sparking apple juice for toasting, a buffet dinner, party hats and noisemakers and other surprises to create a festive evening. Don’t forget, 2013 marks the Santa Monica Playhouse’s 50th anniversary and the playhouse invites you to celebrate the anniversary throughout the new year.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Price: $33.50 to $87
A family holiday outing is a great way to kick off your children’s winter break. Bring the whole family to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for an afternoon of festive holiday spirit. On Saturday, Dec. 22 at 11:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m., special guest Julie Andrews promises to delight audiences with holiday poems. Each person is given a copy of the lyrics so you and your family can sing along with the Angeles Choral.
Related: Best Holiday Lights Displays
Make an impact for the future
Many retailers give back during the holidays and you too can participate when you are holiday shopping. “People should give what they feel comfortable giving,” says Andrew Cooper, Managing Partner of AJ Wealth. “It’s also important to involve children in your gift of giving. Let them participate in deciding how to give and researching charities.”
Kitson L.A. Pacific Design Center
115 N. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
This holiday season, Kitson is selling FEED Bags. With each FEED Bag bought, the brand donates meals to children all around the world. The bags are named for the areas in which FEED provides food. The most popular one, the FEED Kenya Bag, provides two meals for two children in Kenya for one year.
23410 Civic Center Way
Malibu, CA 90265
Price: $9.99 to $129
Toy Crazy in the Malibu Country Mart doesn’t only target the chi chi celebrity clientele of the beachy neighborhood. The toy shop emphasizes unique brands and sustainable product lines and has a great selection of both for the holiday season. This holiday shopping season, give back when you purchase Just B. toys from the boutique. With every toy bought, this toymaker will donate to Free the Children, an international charity that focuses on developing children’s potential and dreams through educational programs and endeavors.
Jennifer Geisman is a freelance writer and faithful beauty junkie living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.