Friday, 15 October 2010

Christmas Shopping for Out of Town Relatives

Christmas Shopping for Out of Town Relatives

Although living nearby to all of your relatives can be a wonderful experience, unfortunately this is not always the case and relatives are often separated by vast differences. Sometimes you are forced to relocate because of a job and sometimes you just move because you would like to live in and experience a new city, state or country. Likewise one or more of your relatives may opt to relocate for the same reasons. Regardless of how or why it happened many of us often find ourselves in a situation where our relatives may be spread out all over the globe. This is a sad fact of life which makes it more difficult to stay in touch and also greatly complicates the Christmas shopping process. This article will take a look at some of the dilemmas associated with Christmas shopping for out of town relatives and will provide some strategies for dealing with these dilemmas.
The financial cost and the hassle of shipping gifts is one of the most obvious problems in this scenario. Items which are large, heavy or fragile can be difficult to ship. For example you may find a beautiful crystal vase that you know your out of town cousin will love but you may be hesitant to purchase this item because you are afraid it will be lost or damaged during shipping. Even shipping small items can be a problem particularly if they are items which would be hard to replace such as collectors items or limited edition items. In these cases it may be wise to stick with gifts such as gift certificates for your out of town relatives. These can often be included in a Christmas card and mailed with only the use of one stamp. Although these gifts may seem unexciting it is much easier than dealing with the long lines which typically exist at any shipping location around the Christmas season.
Another problem associated with Christmas shopping for out of town relatives is you may have a great deal of difficulty selecting gifts for these relatives. You may have been very close with the relative when they lived nearby but distance can make it difficult to stay in touch and can result in emotional distance between you and your far away relatives. You may be unaware of her current hobbies and interests which can make it difficult to select a personalized gift she will really appreciate. Opting for more generic items such as sweaters or scented bath soaps and candles is one way to deal with this problem. Another way to deal with this dilemma is to make a concerted effort to get in contact with your relative before you begin the Christmas season. Whether you give them a call or send an email or letter you will be opening up the lines of communication which can give you some insight into their current life and can help make it easier for you to select a great Christmas gift she will really appreciate.
Even purchasing items for the home can be difficult when it comes to out of town relatives. You may see a throw pillow or a vase you think your cousin will absolutely love and which would match her living room perfectly but you may be unaware that she has redecorated the living room by painting the walls a different color or purchasing new furniture to replace the furniture you remember so well. This may seem like a big detail but even if you have kept in contact with your cousin she may have forgotten to mention she had redecorated. This can make purchasing home related items for out of town relatives quite difficult. You can help to alleviate this problem by purchasing decorative items as gifts but including a gift receipt with the gift when you ship it to your relative. This makes it easier for them to return the item if it does not match their d├ęcor and purchase a more suitable item. They will appreciate the gesture of your gift as well as your thoughtfulness in allowing them to choose an item that really works well in their living space.

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