Gift shopping is one of those exhausting, sometimes terrifying, activities that could be classed as an extreme sport!
Here are some tips for surviving (and even enjoying) A Christmas Shopping Expedition.
1. BE PREPARED Take a page from Santa's book and make a list. Include all the information you could possibly need. Include: people you want to buy gifts for, what you are planning to buy them, where you will buy each gift from (if you know) and expected price. Have alternative gift ideas just in case your plan goes awry. Consider all possibilities.
2. HAVE A PLAN This may sound the same as the first tip, but it isn’t. Before you go anywhere, answer the following questions and decide on the best plan for your circumstances.
· How much do you have to spend? (enough to buy it all in one day)
· Which stores are you visiting? Are they all in one location?
· How much time do you have to shop, the whole day, a few hours, half an hour?
· How big are the gifts? Will they all fit in the car?
3. BE SPECIFIC Don’t fall into the trap of buying 15 boxes of shortbread biscuits in the hope that you are covering everyone and then realise you have forgotten ten people. A personal gift that considers each person will be more appreciated.
4. TAKE TIME Don’t wait until Christmas Eve! Purchase some items as you see them. Allow extra time so that if you can’t find the perfect gift you were planning to get you are not forced to give them a box of biscuits!
5. EAT FIRST When we are shopping we spend far too much time in the food court. We are also likely to spend money purchasing unnecessary snack foods or drinks while shopping for gifts. So eat a proper meal and take some crackers in your handbag. Alternatively, schedule time for meals and budget for them too.
6. STAY HYDRATED If there is a time you are likely to get a headache, Christmas Shopping is one of them. Crowds, Christmas Music, Children, Sales, long queues! AAAHHHH! Take some bottled water along with you. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headache and prevention is better than cure!
7. DITCH THE KIDS If this is one time a babysitter is worth it, this is it!
8. STAY FOCUSED You are shopping for gifts, not for clothes or shoes or hats or jewellery. You are not shopping for yourself. The quicker you get in and tick each item off the list the quicker you can get home and relax.
9. SMILE and RELAX Don’t let yourself be sucked into the stress of Christmas Shopping. Yes, you have set goals and you want to get in and out as quickly as possible, but you can do all this without turning into a Grinch! You have done the hard work by making a list of people and gifts, planning which shops where and when. You can afford to relax and enjoy the experience. Smile at shop assistants and thank them for their help. Be polite to fellow shoppers, no matter how greedy and cranky they may seem. Remember that Christmas is a time of goodwill and peace on earth.
10. WRAP IT UP Know when to call it a day. If you are starting to get Grinchy, it might be time for a break. Have a coffee and reset before getting back into it. If that isn’t working, go home and save the rest of the list for another day.
There you have it. Get listing and enjoy the experience.