Handy tips for stress-free Christmas shoppingThursday 26 November 2015 by Jasmine Trickey It’s almost December, which means the festive season is in full swing; Christmas decorations really are appearing everywhere, and if you haven’t already started, now is probably a good time to begin perusing the shops for gifts.
You’ve probably already heard the classic Christmas shopping tips: Start early, make lists and budget, shop online – but if you’re anything like us, it all goes out the window when you end up last-minute panic shopping and trying to fit in Christmas around a busy schedule. To help you out, we’ve collated a list of handy, lesser-known Christmas shopping tips:
Christmas shop alone.
While it may not help your social life to blossom, hitting the shops alone will prevent you from unconsciously mimicking the purchases of your shopping partner, and ending up with a load of tat that none of your friends of family will actually like. You’ll be able to think more clearly about what you’re buying, and it will stop you feeling pressured to make any unnecessary purchases. You’ll probably get the job done much faster, too.
Buy least expensive gifts first - or you might lose perspective of price
If you struggle to keep to a budget, start by purchasing less expensive Christmas gifts first. Research shows that when you purchase small items and see the total price racking up, you’re more likely to reign back your spending. Your mind will ‘anchor’ to the cheaper price of these small gifts, providing a reference point for comparison when you’re shopping for pricier presents.
Shop out of hours and go late night Christmas Shopping!
Unless you enjoy queuing for hours, shopping at lunchtimes or during the weekend is very ill-advised. For those of you working 9 ‘till 5, this can be difficult – but that’s where late night shopping comes in. Over the festive period, many shops stay open as late as 10 or 11pm, which is a fantastic opportunity to hit the high-street and avoid the crowds. The later you go, the better! Christmas food shopping in the evening is a great idea too, and an opportunity to stock up on discounted fresh goods.
Take advantage of buy and collect services
Buy and collect gives you the advantages of both online and in-person shopping; you’re able to choose gifts in advance, there’s no risk of the items being out of stock in-store, and you can pick the package up at a time that suits you. Many retailers also offer this service for free, so you avoid online delivery charges, and if the gift isn’t quite right you’ll be able to return it straight away.
Plan for a present emergency
Trust us on this one - it’s a good idea to keep a couple of ‘emergency’ presents on standby! Whether it’s your office secret santa or for a neighbour who sends you an unexpected gift, there’s usually someone on the Christmas list who’s difficult to buy for, or gets accidentally overlooked. Keep a couple of gift cards or generic foodie items in reserve to prevent those last-minute panics.
There’s nothing wrong with accepting that some people on your list are more important than others when it comes to present-buying. Particularly when shopping on a budget, consider who tops your priority list and then work backwards. You can always fall back on your stash of emergency gifts if that’s what it comes down too – see above!
And for the person that has everything…
Consider the gift of charity! Consider donating £10, £20 or £50 to a charity in someone else’s name. You can still tailor the gift to make it personal; for example, if your friend loves animals, you could donate to WWF and ‘Adopt An Animal’. If you’re set on buying a tangible gift, we recommend checking out some quirky online stores such as Etsy or Notonthehighstreet.com, where you can pick up fantastic, out-of-the-box personalisable gifts. Christmas Markets usually offer a have a range of unique gifts too.
Hopefully we’ve given you a couple of ideas that will help take the stress out of shopping this festive season! If you have any other tips we haven’t mentioned, we would love to hear them!