Any of you that follow me will have seen that last week I launched my Christmas Tips series. These will be going up each weekend until the week of Christmas, when the post will go up mid week. But, for today, here are my tips for Christmas Shopping.
This could end up being quiet long so I am going to split it up into three sections.
I am a big believer in the idea that preparation is the key to success. And I really believe this when it comes to Christmas. So these are my tips regarding the preparation for Christmas Shopping.
- Plan Ahead
have at least of a good idea about what you were going to get and for whom. personally, I will sit down a week off to before I plan to go shopping and I’ll compile a list of everyone but I am going to buy presents for . then, I brainstorm at least a few ideas of what I’m going to buy for the person. this helps reduce any impulse buying comma and is very useful for sticking to a budget
- Window Shop
look around online in the weeks leading up to your shopping trip. pretty much every store now has a website .look on them .especially if you were struggling for inspiration for a tricky to shop for person. this is especially helpful if you’re on a tight budget .Why pay £15 for something when you might be able to get the exact same item for £5 elsewhere.
sit down before you go and work out exactly how much you can feasibly afford to spend all together. and take the time to separate your budget out, so you know exactly how much to spend on each person. for example, so you have £200 to spend and you want to buy presents for both of your parents ,one sibling and two friends, then, assuming like me you spend more on family than friends ,you would have £50 for each family member and £25 for each friend.
however, I also always set aside between £20 and £50 I haven’t included in my budget .this means what should I overspend on someone, I don’t have to then take that money out of someone else’s budget .it is better to have money left over then to not have enough.
- Keep Notes
get yourself a little notebook to keep everything in .keep an ongoing copy of your budget and shopping list in it, dates that you need to remember, list of who you want to send cards to and so on .take it with you everywhere (I have done a detailed post on this. it is already up).
Make a few notes about the people you are buying for. Their dress size, favourite colour, style preferences, likes etc. Having these little notes can make it a lot easier to buy for people. Doing this will also help to limit the possibility of the recipient returning or exchanging the item.
Next are my tips for when you are actually shopping. I find the actual processes of Christmas shopping really stressful. So these are all the little tricks that I have picked up over the years to help reduce the stress levels a bit.
this one may seem a little odd ,but bear with me stop everyone here, in England we know all too well that come October, all of the shops turn on the heating, trying to roast us alive. My advice to you is to wear layers when you go shopping . it is easier to take Islay off then to try and shop when either boiling or freezing. another, obvious 1, is to wear flat, comfortable shoes.
if possible take 3 or 4 reusable canvas bags with you when you go shopping . it is so much easier 2 place all of your shopping Into 1 big bag that you can then throw over your shoulder, then it is to try and shop while juggling 3 dozen carrier bags .
if you don’t have any bags I would recommend the ones from Primark. they have loads of different designs , always bringing out new ones as well. they’re really good size with handles easily fit over your shoulder but aren’t so long that they drag on the floor if you were to carry it. I have about a dozen of them now and they range from about £2 to £5
plan ahead and set a date for when you want to go shopping. choose to go early. try and go during November. you could even go in October. just don’t leave it all to the last minute. doing that just results in panic buying.
also, consider going on a weekday if you can . generally speaking the shops are slightly quieter during the week and they are the weekend
finally, go as early in the day as possible. trying get to the shops straight after open. this way you can try and avoid the worst of crowds.
- The Weather
don’t let the weather put you off going. if it’s raining, still go. you are going to be in and out all shops all day anyway, so you won’t get too wet. and generally speaking, rain does put people off, so, the shops will be a little quieter.
At long last, we are on to the actual buying
We all know someone that is really difficult to shop for. For me, it is my dad. He is such a bloody pain. So here are a few tips that I have found useful when trying to think of gift ideas
- Check out the persons amazon wishlist. You don’t necessarily have to buy an item off the list, but seeing a few things that the person does want can quiet often give you inspiration for a gift.
- Talk to others. Discuses presents with people that are also buying for the person. Once again they can give you inspiration
- The three guesses. Essentially you talk to the person about Christmas and make them guess three times what you have brought them. Boom! Three things they want
instead of buying someone a generic gift, why not try and get them something unique or quirky. I find that the best places to pick up gifts like these are either online or in very small independent shops. Here are a few of my favorite sites and items.
if you are shopping for a book lover I suggest trying ‘FromthePage’. They are a really great little company that make book themed scented candles. They are super cute and smell amazing.
For someone with a large family look at birthday boards. They are uber cute (some require assembly) and serve a purpose. ‘sign chik’ do a really sweet one
- Not on the high street
Why not buy a loved one a piece of personalized jewelry. They not only look adorable but can hold real sentiment. Not on the high street are an amazing place to get things like this.
This is going to seem very obvious, but if you are ordering offline, do it early. You don’t want to be in a situation where the gift hasn’t arrived in time. Or, like happened to me last year, a present took a very long time to arrive and when it did, it was damaged. Unfortunately because it had taken so long to get here i didn’t have time to send it back and get something else.
(I will be going into more detail about this in my Tips for Christmas Gifting post)
And now just one last thing I want to say… DON’T PANIC!
whatever happens during your shopping trip don’t worry. if you can’t find a gift , if the crowds get to you, if you spend more money than you had planned, it is okay. either stop somewhere for coffee or just call it a day. head home, have a nice cup of tea , relax, and just regroup. sort through what you have bought, and make a new list of whom you still need to buy for, reassess your budget, and then head out again on another day . if you start your shopping early then it means but you have plenty of time to go out shopping again. besides, going on multiple trips means you can go different places. somewhere with different shops, different stock or just a different atmosphere. just don’t panic, it’s really not worth it.
so that it. those are my top tips for Christmas shopping, to avoid stress. I hope you found these tips helpful. let me know if you’ve enjoyed this post. I would love to know any tips that you have. I will see you all again soon.
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