Avoiding the Christmas rush... and saving money!

I really try to shop year-round for Christmas presents. When I see something that I know someone will like, and it's priced just right, then I go ahead and pick it up and set it aside for Christmas.

Shopping year-round allows me to save so much money because I can buy things when they're on clearance, on a good sale and when I have coupons or online coupon codes.

Just recently I bought a few things from FisherPrice.com. They had sent me an email with a coupon for an extra 20% off anything that was already on sale. So I picked up a few toys to put away for the kiddos for Christmas.

Another perk to shopping year-round is that I'm not running around frantic during the entire Christmas season and rushing to buy things for people. I can take my time and find things that I know each person will enjoy.

And in turn, I can actually enjoy Christmas. I can relax, take in the joyous atmosphere, spend time with family, bake cookies, and spend time decorating and singing Christmas carols as I dance around the house! (Yes that is a favorite activity for my daughter.... and Hubby who got it on video! Ha!)

Anyway, as much as I like to shop ahead... with two little ones it's hard to get out shopping as often as I'd like. So I'm not as prepared as I'd like to be. I think I have about 5 gifts... maybe. So I'm writing this in motivation so that I really start looking for those great gift bargains. Maybe it'll motivate you too!

Tell me... have you started to shop yet? Do you find that shopping ahead saves you money? Or do you like the fast-paced shopping a few weeks before Christmas?