The jingle of sleigh bells, shop windows filled with fairy lights and the waft of cinnamon candles can only mean one thing – it’s that time of year again; time to brave the hoards of high street shoppers in search of the perfect pressie as we prepare to get trodden on, elbowed and bled dry of our monthly earnings. Yes, it’s Christmas Shopping Season!
However it doesn’t have to be as stressful as rumour has it, in fact if you play your cards right you might actually find yourself having a jolly good time… so here’s my top tips on how to turn the festive frenzy into tidings of comfort & joy:
Become an A-Lister:
Wandering around aimlessly searching for Christmas gift inspiration can be stressful & tedious. Rather than shopping blindly, curl up with a note pad and jot down everyone you plan on buying for first. Think of their personalities, interests, hobbies etc. and go from there. Alternatively nab a few high street catalogues or pop online and I’ll guarantee your gift buying juices will flow. If you’re still struggling check out Not On The High Street, which is crammed full of unique little gift ideas from some of the UK’s best creative businesses!
The Early Bird Catches the Worm Gift:
Keep in mind that evenings and weekends are peak times for big spenders so it’s no surprise that this comes with a mass of queues and disgruntled shoppers. If possible save yourself the hassle and schedule your trip for an early week morning, whilst others are on their way to work or caught up in the school run you’ll be sure to find the space you need to browse the shelves without risking a bruised rib or trampled toe.
Last year I witnessed at least 4 major falls from girls slipping or tripping as a result of tottering around in six inch stilettos. Gear up with your comfiest shoes, a cosy jacket that is light enough to pop in a bag should you begin to wilt and a practical handbag that is easily slung over the shoulder – leaving your hands free to grab those bargains.
It may be the season of goodwill but a high street full of handbags is a winter wonderland for a sticky fingered thief. Don’t be tempted to carry large amounts of cash, keep valuables at home and if you’re leaving bags of shopping in your car make sure they’re out of sight. Seems like common sense but it’s amazing how many shoppers just don’t get it – not everyone is as honest as you are!
If you’re pushed for time or prefer an organised approach to shopping why not opt for reservation instead? Many of the major retailers allow you to collect the gifts instore that you’ve pre-ordered from online which is perfect for those who are doomed to miss delivery vans or may want to check sizing. This saves a whole lotta time and energy by allowing you to browse peacefully from the comfort of your own sofa/office chair/loo *delete as appropriate*
Rope in a Relative:
If the thought of stepping out into the harsh winter weather, laden with bags is too much for you to comprehend or you have a work schedule that’s busier than Rudolf’s come Christmas Eve, then sticking to ordering your goodies online is probably the best stress-free solution to your quandary. However to avoid a delivery dilemma why not ask a relative or friend who works from home if they would mind your goodies arriving at their abode instead? That way all you have to do is call in and collect on your way home without any worry.
Okay, so it might get a reputation of being a haven for bored housewives but there are actually quite a few nifty little items to be found on the shopping channels these days. Plus anything you see is tirelessly demonstrated, so if your Dad’s scratching his cranium over the new coffee machine you bought him, chances are you’ll probably be able to work it better than any budding Barista – all thanks to the 20 minute sales pitch you endured.
Don’t forget to check out voucher sites such as Wowcher & Groupon as some of the offers are pretty darn impressive compared to the retail value elsewhere. Keep an eye out for high street deals such as ‘three for the price of two’ and check out Money Saving Expert for lots of really useful money saving tips, advice and voucher codes to help keep more pennies in your pocket.
Love Your Locals:
Needless to say when most of us think of Christmas Shopping we immediately think of huge glitzy department stores, personal shoppers and gift wrapping services, when in fact there is a multitude of wonderful little shops and businesses out there that provide an outstanding level of service and selection of goods that can’t be found on the shelves of their corporate counter-parts. By supporting local businesses you’re keeping the essence of your town alive and helping a small business stay trading!
It’s easy to get carried away with all the hype in the run up to the big day but it’s important for us all to keep in mind the reason for the season and enjoy every moment with our nearest and dearest too don’t you think?
If you have any top tips on keeping stress levels under wraps this Christmas or would like to share how you tackle your festive shopping I’d love to read about it in the comments below…
Cheerio Chums 🙂