The holiday can be a very hectic time and the closer we get to the end of December, the higher our stress level rises. But it doesn't have to be that way, especially when it comes to buying gifts.

The best way to approach Christmas shopping is to have a plan! No more stress, no debt and many happy faces – do yourself and your credit card a favor and follow the steps below, courtesy of Christmas Celebrations.

Don't wait until the last minute.
We know, we know... you try it every year but it never works. Stop being lazy and start your Christmas shopping early this time! You will be able to put much more thought into your presents and avoid last-minute shopping fiascos. If it's already too late, keep it in mind for next year!

Set a budget.
Of course you want to buy presents that make people happy but you don't want to pay off your debts until next Christmas. Make sure to buy gifts that you can actually afford. Set a budget and stick to it!

Take a list.
Are you planning on getting inspiration from walking around the shopping centre? It might work in some cases but it's much easier to think about possible presents before you hit the mall. Especially if you need to go on a last-minute shopping trip you don't have time to wander around. Make a list of the gifts you want to buy for each person and take it with you when you go shopping! And again, the sooner you get your list done, the better.

Shop in off-peak hours.
Especially shortly before Christmas, avoid shopping on the weekends! A lot of stores are open until late and that is the time when they are the least crowded. Or if you can, go very early in the morning.

Look for sales.
If you have your Christmas list early enough, try to buy your presents after Christmas as many things will go on sale. Also keep Black Friday and Cyber Monday in mind as you can save a lot of money. Black Friday might be very stressful but hey, if you are on a budget it's definitely worth it.

Shop online.
Shopping in your pajamas? Yes! Christmas shopping is fun but you don't want to fight with ten others over one pair of shoes. Avoid crowds, long lines and stress and shop online! You can find great deals and in some cases you don't even have to pay sales tax. Some companies also provide gift wrapping. And you can't lose your receipt as it goes directly to your email inbox.

Buy extra gifts.
It's better to be prepared than sorry! Whether you have unexpected guests or you simply forgot somebody, buy a few "generic" gifts, such as chocolates. You can avoid embarrassment or – if you had enough presents – you can eat it yourself.

Save receipts.
You can't always get it right. Keep the receipts for at least 90 days after your purchase as things might not fit or break.

Reward yourself.
Did you get everything done? Good job! Reward yourself with a small treat, you deserve it.