Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, though Christmas shopping can be frustrating, particularly close to the countdown to the day itself when the shops are packed, the muzak is either too loud or too repetitive, and you end up burning a hole in your pocket. Here are some tips to make the Christmas shopping experience as simple and stress-free as possible.
It’s all in the planning
Although Christmas Day is on the same date each year, it has the habit of surprising those of us who are too busy with work, family and other responsibilities. Waiting to buy presents in the last few days before Christmas is bound to be stressful, and the likelihood of you finding something appropriate for everyone on your list is slim. Order online for home delivery or collection in store, as soon as you have your list planned. This takes away the bulk of the stress of Christmas shopping, as long as you have left enough time for delivery.
Ideally, you want to start planning at least a month before the holiday. This means deciding who you want to buy a gift for. Everyone will tell you that a Xmas gift for your girlfriend has to be your top priority, so it is wise to set your budget for this at the start and make it the maximum you can possibly go. She will not be impressed if you spend more on your niece.
Make an effort with the gift wrap
Have fun with the gift wrap. To show off a stunning gift, use all the bows and ribbons that you want that will have everyone intrigued. You can go in the opposite direction and have a gift wrapped in the ugliest way possible, using duct tape, that would give any recipient the idea that you did not really make an effort, which means the personally signed book from her favourite author is more of a surprise.
If your brother is waiting for the release of a new movie next year, use an online programme to create a fake movie cover to put into a blank DVD case holding a gift card to buy the movie when it is released. Include him in the artwork and make it fun. You can also print an insert with your Christmas message. For added fun, gift wrap your gift within a box, within a box; use 50 zip ties to keep the gift wrap in place or place an iPhone in a box of coloured pencils.
Go for quality
If you are unsure what to gift, choose a quality item over something cheap. You may have no idea what your five-year-old niece would enjoy now, so instead of an expensive Barbie, choose a piece of jewellery that she can keep throughout her life. This could be a bracelet with an engraved message on the inside from you to her. This could be a quote that you like or a wish that you have for her.
You can also combine gifts that are bought with a handmade gift. Match a red rose with a love letter. If the budget is tight, homemade gifts are precious as they show that you have put some effort and time into the gift. Bake cookies or a box of brownies (even if you made them from a packet mix). Other ideas include framing the best photo you have taken this year of the person on your list or use an online programme to restore a precious photograph that is a little worn, torn or faded.