I’m an organised lady, and had most of my Christmas shopping completed two weeks ago. In fact, the majority of it was finished in October. Yes, I just love buying gifts! But if you’re not as organised as I am, I’ve got some fab Christmas shopping tips for you to follow. You might not fall in love with facing the crowds in December, but it might make for an easier ride this Christmas!
1. Write A List
If you go to the shops blind, you’re going to have no idea who you should be buying for. Before you even consider going shopping, make sure you have a full list of everybody you need to buy for ready and waiting. Your parents, your siblings, your partners parents, your obscure secret santa. Everything needs writing down! And if your partner is like my boyfriend, you’ll need to make sure you have all of their family written out too. Don’t make an enemy of the in-laws!
This is the part where you can start thinking about gifts for your friends and family, without the overwhelming panic that comes with heading to your local shopping centre.
2. Know Your Budget
It’s so easy to overspend at Christmas – I do it every single year! By setting a budget as early into the Christmas shopping period as you can, you know you won’t be overspending. It’s probably a little late to set a massive budget, as there is only one more pay day before the big day (if you’re lucky, although it’s my least favourite one as I have to wait 6 weeks until my January pay), but knowing how much money is available early will make you a lot less stressed when you’re deciding between an extra bottle of prosecco in the fridge or an extra box of mince pies in the cupboard. Personally, I’d rather have the prosecco! Always give yourself a little buffer, and if you end up spending less you can always treat yourself to a little gift or two!
3. Do Your Research
Now you’ve got your list and your budget you can start to really think about what to buy. My number one piece of advice when it comes to Christmas shopping is to do your research. You can find all the information you could possibly need on the internet or in magazines, so make the most of it! Think about who you’re buying for and what gift guides are saying, and spend a couple of hours one evening doing your research. Seriously, a night of Google and a glass of wine is a great plan!
Included in your research, you should be looking at what offers are on. Boots and M&S always offer 3 for 2 on their gifts, so you can save quite a bit of money this way. It’s all about the research! Once your research is complete, you can head into the shops a little less flustered.
4. Don’t Shop In Peak Times
If you are easily flustered, hate crowds or just don’t want to spend the majority of your time waiting for a car park space, I highly recommend not shopping in peak times. Avoid weekends in December! And if you have to shop at the weekend, go early. Get there as soon as the shops open, rather than waiting until after lunch. Personally I find that late night shopping is usually a lot calmer than the weekends, but your best bet is to pop in on a Monday morning. My job means I can’t, but if you’re available it’s a much calmer Christmas shopping experience.
5. And If All Else Fails…
…do it all online! Amazon becomes your best friend during the Christmas season. Sure, it hurts to see hundreds going out in one transaction but after an hour or two, you’re done. And it’s all delivered right to your door! Plus, if you sign up to Amazon Prime, you even get next day delivery. Winner! Unless you specifically want to buy locally (or from Primark), pretty much everywhere offers online delivery. And if you’re on a tighter budget, or don’t trust your neighbours to sign for your orders when you’re out, you can always collect in store.
Just A Couple More Christmas Shopping Tips
So now you’ve got an idea of the process, I’ve got a few other tips for you. It’s not a process to go through as such, but just a couple of extra things to consider. The first is to always keep in an extra box of chocolates, bottle of wine and box of smellies hidden away (plus a gift bag for them). There’s always the chance, or the probability, that you’ve forgotten to buy for someone. Are you really stuck for ideas? Buy an experience. I love receiving experiences over things that I don’t want, and they’re always going to create wonderful memories.
I love buying gifts for people, but it’s always tough at Christmas. Get your Christmas shopping done early this month so you can have a more chilled out December. What is your number one Christmas shopping tip?