The obvious answer here would most likely be to shop online, but don’t you think it takes a bit of sparkle and magic out of things.
I often like to browse the shelves for inspiration, see what else is available as I amble along the busy aisles, listening to enthusiastic little voices as they tell their parents what they’re going to be asking Father Christmas for this year.
I actually enjoy the excited hustle and bustle as I really find it get’s me in the festive mood, especially if shops are dishing out mince pie samples along with warming mulled wine. Its just so cheery and friendly.
It’s also nice to actually touch the product before you purchase it, check it’s really what you want, check the quality etc, as I’m sure we’ve all been there when we’ve ordered the perfect online gift only to discover its one third of the size you thought it would be and no good for anything!
But, the time for ambling and meandering aimlessly throughout the stores may have passed us by. By now the shops are filling with more and more people, hurriedly trying to grab their festive bargains and quickly tick off every item on their little ones Christmas lists.
Remember that Jingle All The Way film with Arnie? Yes that one. Where two dads fight it out to get their hands on the last doll for their son? You see, last minute shopping sometimes doesn’t cut it around now.
Each year, I’m hearing more and more about people eking out their funds and doing their Christmas Shopping throughout the year now! Which is fabulous as it enables you to budget all the more for it.
But personally I find it rather difficult to get my mind around Christmas when I’ve not yet been on my summer holiday.
But I like to think I’m the norm, in the middle ground perhaps.
There’s no way I’m organised enough to shop throughout the year, but equally I won’t wait until Christmas Eve to do it either.
I probably start around October.
What I have found though, is that planning is pretty key at this time of the year. Car parks are full and the usual Saturday afternoon mooch into the high street becomes a whole lot more purposeful. People have quickened their steps and there is far more rushing about than usual.
That’s why, for these couple of months more so than any others, I try to work to a list.
Yes, if my husband was reading this now, he’d be in fits on the floor – you see, I love a good list – but I rarely stick to them! And to paraphrase that well known ski drinking term, we say I like to go ‘off list’ instead! Especially if I’m grocery shopping!
Anyway, I’m digressing!
If you have a clear idea as to what you need to buy, the whole shopping experience will be far better and more importantly stress free. You will be able to shop with focus and will feel better and more relaxed about the whole affair afterwards.
They’ll be no need to sit in a darkened corner somewhere, rocking back and forth with a bottle of gin in your hand!
And, you’ll have a satisfying sense of achievement as you tick the items off along the way.
Perfect don’t you think?
So here are my top tips for staying cool this Christmas shopping season….
Try not to shop if you’re hugely pushed for time, unless you have planned it. If you go in unarmed, you’re far more likely to lose your rag when the queue stretches all the way back up one of the aisles.
If you can, and obviously to keep the secret that little bit longer, try to plan for when you don’t have the kids. When they’re at school, on your lunch break, leave them with your other half for a couple of hours etc – it’ll be far, far easier to concentrate.
That said, maybe try to avoid the busy or peak shopping times too. If you can that is. I’m a but stuck on this one as I work and can only get out on my lunch break, where, rest assured if you need to go to the post office to pick up an urgent parcel, there’s a whole line of OAPs in front of you who could have got there at 9am! Sorry. I love them all, I promise, but c’mon!!
Don’t forget to buy all the little necessities to see you through the season: sellotape, tree gift wrap, sticking gift wrap, tags, batteries, ribbon, boxes, spare presents(!). There’s nothing worse than on Christmas Eve as the kids have gone to bed, making yourself a cuppa, sticking on a Christmas movie, and going to start the mammoth present wrapping session only to find you’re at the end of the roll!
If your children have their hearts set on one or two particular items that year, I would shop even earlier for them – especially if they are this seasons most popular lines. These are far more likely to sell out faster than anything else, and you don’t want to see their little faces crumble on Christmas morning because good old Santa missed it off their list!
If you’re planning a bit of a shopping marathon, make sure you wear comfy shoes and clothing. But also, I’d advise not to dress too warm either as the shops really do crank the heat up in these winter months, and it’s horrible to be rushing around with a sweat on.
And don’t forget your totes and shoppers!! We are still getting used to the new rule, and if you’re anything like me, you forget your bags on a daily basis until your husband packs some groceries carriers in your bag for you! Maybe even give a ‘bag in a bag’ in other people’s stockings this year. They might need help remembering too!!
Stock up! If you plan on having a few social gatherings over the holiday period, then you certainly don’t want to be caught short with no bubbly or nibbles! At this time of year the supermarkets are doing some fabulous deals on boxes of Champagne, Prosecco and beer, so it’s well worth taking advantage of these and stocking up your wine racks! Oh, and remember ice and mixers too.
While we’re on the subject of parties – you may as well add emergence frozen nibbles to the list too. These are easy and quick to serve up to impromptu or extra guests.
And if you are placing any orders, say your turkey, any platters or your Christmas glazed ham (YUM!) then make sure you order these in good time too. It would be no good if the turkey turns up on New Years Eve now would it!
Inevitably something is sure to be forgotten, and a little last minute rush might be in order, but hey, if you’ve got the rest already done, ticked off and under your belt, it gives you lots more time to enjoy the other incites that come with this fabulously festive season!