Christmas Shopping Tips

So, it’s that time again.  We’ve been bombarded with adverts about it for a month already, casually brushing them aside as unimportant, moaning to our friends about how the preparations seem to be getting earlier and earlier each year- so it’s easy to still assume we’re months off Christmas.  However, the Christmas lights, outdoor ice-rinks and German Christmas markets signal that we are now but a month away from the big day.  The festive season is a time for family and for eating, drinking and being merry but it’s also a season of traffic jams, money woes and high stress.  Don’t panic though! With a little preparation and savvy shopping you will soon be able to look forward to Christmas day safe in the knowledge that everything is taken care of.

Start now. No, not later, now!

Most of us put off buying Christmas presents as long as possible. In fact, the busiest shopping day, other than black Friday, is Christmas Eve.  Leaving it this late means the shops have less selection and you only have one day to find presents for everyone. You foolishly think that inspiration will hit you once you start shopping but under the time pressure all you end up doing is running around the shops like you’re on Supermarket Sweep. You pick up a rubber duck for your aunty Betty and desperately try to justify it by recalling that one time when she giggled at that TV advert featuring rubber ducks.  To avoid this, start your shopping early. You don’t have to go out and buy all your presents tomorrow as that just puts you in the same time pressured environment as before, but take a couple of days casually browsing some shops looking for inspiration. Not only will this mean better presents for your family but by starting a little earlier you won’t have to battle so many shoppers and it will be a much more pleasant experience.

Make a list

It’s very easy to be tempted by all the offers you find in the shops. As it’s their busiest time of year, shops spend a lot of effort trying to convince you, the shopper, to buy things you wouldn’t necessarily buy otherwise.  Making a list ensures you don’t forget anyone but also stops you buying little extra gifts on impulse; if it’s not on the list then don’t buy it!

Shop online

To avoid the stresses of shopping centres completely many people are turning to shopping online for their Christmas presents and it’s not hard to see why.  At one hand can be a glass of wine and at the other millions of retailers, not to mention the charm of shopping in your slippers!  Christmas isn’t just a busy period for us shoppers, though, but also for fraudsters, who presumably need to fund their Christmas shopping too, so you need to be extra vigilant around the festive period.  Research has shown that 26 per cent of shoppers never check for a website’s security padlock, meaning that their payment details could be at risk from insecure security.  If a website looks dodgy then check it out before entering any sensitive information. One website worth checking out is It provides shoppers with a unique experience when compared to many other online retailers. What sets The Store apart from the rest is that the product descriptions and images are provided by people who are customers and users of the site. This basically means you’re getting a much more authentic representation of the product. The search function also allows you to find exactly what you’re looking for with little to no hassle. You might find something that would otherwise not be available via other online stores, which makes it an excellent stop for Christmas shopping.

Have a Winter Clearout

Ran out of money already and still have presents to buy for the in-laws? Why not consider a winter clear out.  Go through your drawers and pick out any item that you’ve not used in the past year. This could be an item of clothing or, perhaps, an unwanted Christmas present from last year.  Whatever it is, as long as it’s in good condition then there’s no doubt that someone on the internet will be willing to pay for it.  Putting unwanted items up for sale on sites such as eBay could give you that well needed money boost to finish off your shopping and it also clears out space in your drawers for your new Christmas presents!  Whilst you’re on eBay why not see if you can find a present or two for the family? But remember to check they can deliver the product before Christmas day otherwise you’ll be joining the crowds on Christmas Eve searching for a replacement gift.

Get Creative

What is the best present you’ve received? Was it that super expensive juicer you got from your parents which you’ve never actually used?  Or was it the mixed tape lovingly filled with all your favourite songs you got from a friend when you were 20? Now, I’m not saying that mixed tapes should make a comeback, some things are best left in the past, but it does illustrate my point: people love to receive gifts from people who have put effort and thought into them.  So, if you’re low on money this Christmas don’t fret, bake! Handmade truffles are incredibly indulgent and you can flavour them with whatever you want thus making it a perfect personal gift.

Hit the Sales

This final tip is not for everyone, but it will save you money. Everyone knows how frustrating it is when you buy a pair of boots one week and then see them in sale the next.  Well, that’s what happens with most of the Christmas presents that we buy.  To avoid this more and more of us are actually buying our Christmas presents in the January sales. This means great savings but it does have its setbacks too.  Buying presents a year in advance is very hard to get right, what with changing trends and keeping up with hobbies, so this way of purchasing presents is a bit of a gamble.  Alternatively you could hold off buying the presents this year until January, but I wouldn’t like to explain that to your family on Christmas day when they wake up to no presents. If you are visiting your parents or in-laws after Christmas day and you can put up with the crowded shops then a slightly more realistic option is to take advantage of the “After Christmas Sales” often starting on Boxing day.

Whatever, whenever and however you choose to shop try to remember that Christmas is a time for celebration and quality family time and you don’t get that if you’re too tired from the stresses of shopping!