Monday, 5 December 2016

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SURVIVAL GUIDE - BLOGMAS DAY 5

Christmas shopping can be one of the most stressful parts of Christmas; but hopefully these ten tips will help to make the process that much easier. For some people, Christmas shopping is a joyous occasion (personally I love Christmas shopping, spending hours wandering around store, carrying more bags that I can count) and for some it can be the worst experiences of their life, being the most awful chore that comes around once a year. I've come up with 10 tips that will hopefully help you to all get through that last minute panic, that is Christmas shopping. I would always say start early, and I started my Christmas shopping in October, but if you are one of those persons who leaves everything til the last minute, then this survival guide will be of some interest to you! 


1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
The key to my successful Christmas shopping trips is to plan. This might sound really boring but if you are not keen on Christmas shopping and you find it stressful, then this will help to reduce the time you spend in shops and can make the whole process 100 times easier. Work out exactly who you need to buy presents for, how much you want to spend on each person and what you would ideally like to buy for them; make sure to have a few options for each person in case the first present is sold out. You can write a list on a piece of paper, or you can do what I did and write the list in the Notes app on my iPhone, that way if I am in town and have a spare 20 minutes I can pick up a present and then delete it off my list. If you only follow one tip from this post, then this is the tip to follow to avoid being overwhelmed in shops and coming away with nothing.

2. READ CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDES
One of the best ways to gather ideas is by reading through Christmas Gift Guides; whether it is from blogs or even magazines will post their Christmas Gift Guides online as well. This will help you to decide what to buy each person and it means you won't have to panic in the shops over what you will buy for each person. It can be so hectic when you are looking at shelves of products and racks of clothes and you have no clue what is best suited to someone. I have written a whole series of Christmas Gift Guides, which can offer some inspiration on what to buy each person in your life! Also check out my Pinterest for 1,600 great gift ideas!!

3. BUY THE LARGEST ITEMS LAST
This is pretty self explanatory, but we all probably have done it at one point in our lives; where we go into the first shop and end up coming out with a massive present and still have another 20 people to buy for. If you have a list then start off by buying the smallest items first and the larger items last. This will mean you won't have to carry heavy items for too long and also you won't bang into people or shelves in the stores. Also if you know you are buying quite a lot of presents then it would be worth taking heavier items back to the car and then carry on shopping so you don't have to lug around heavy bags.

4. DO AS MUCH SHOPPING ONLINE AS YOU CAN
I am a massive fan of online shopping and you can still have parcels delivered before Christmas; just make sure you check the timescale before you order the present. This is quick, convenient and in some cases a lot cheaper. If you know what you want to buy someone, then check online as you may find it cheaper. Buying online can save all the hassle of the last minute rush to buy presents in shops and you can also sometimes get free gift wrapping on most sites, or you may be charged a small amount for wrapping (perfect for anyone who cannot wrap presents). Debenhams, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Amazon and ASOS are great starting points for online shopping. Also, most online retailers will have a Christmas Gift Guide section which is perfect for getting some much needed inspiration.

5. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GIFT WRAPPING SERVICES
Nowadays, a lot of retail stores will offer the option to gift wrap the presents; whether it is online or sometimes in store. This service can often be free or you may be charged a small amount (but it usually won't be much over £5). I always opt for the items to be gift wrapped because sometimes I don't have the time to make all my presents look beautiful. This can help to save time, hassle and stress, especially if you have left your Christmas shopping til the last minute. Just remember that not every store will offer gift wrapping, but most online retailers will, and I would definitely recommend it, if you don't have much time or you are not the best present wrapper. 

6. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME TO SHOP
Choosing the right time to go shopping can save a lot of hassle and stress. We have all been in that situation where we are being pushed so someone can get the last item on the shelf or we spend hours in long queues. I would always recommend choosing the time wisely because it can help to avoid that panicked rush from other people and those long queues. If possible, try shopping early in the morning or later at night, as well as trying to shop on weekdays. If you can avoid shopping at the weekend then you are likely to beat the worst of the queues and you can get your shopping done a lot quicker.

7. PRE-ORDER ITEMS ONLINE
If you don't want to have your presents delivered to your house, because you work or you are always out of the house, then I would recommend pre-ordering items online and then collecting from the store. I do this all the time and I also do this with my Christmas food shopping as it is so much easier.  Most online retailers will give you the option of ordering presents online and then collecting them in store, which is a great option if you are not in the house much or if you want the presents to arrive quicker. A lot of the time if you collect items in store, they will come quicker than if your had them delivered to your house. This is a great option if you are ordering larger items as you can do all your Christmas shopping first and then pick up your pre-ordered items towards the end of the shopping trip. 

8. DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE WEATHER
I never use to think of planning my outfit for when I went shopping, but it is so important to choose your outfit wisely. Shops and shopping centres are known for turning the heat up during the colder months, so be cautious about how much you layer. You don't want to be carrying loads of shopping bags while wearing a larger winter coat, gloves, hat, scarves and a jumper. I will usually wear a lightweight top, jeans and a winter coat, but I will have a pair of gloves and a scarf in my handbag in case it is really cold. Also, it is a good idea to wear a pair of comfortable shoes, especially if you know you will be spending a few hours shopping. I have been that girl who tried to shop for six hours in high heel boots and in the end had to buy a pair of flat shoes from Primark because my feet were sore. So a pair of flat boots or ballet flats is a great option to wear when shopping for long periods of time.

9. SHOP IN A SMALL GROUP OR ALONE
I will always either shop on my own or in a small group of two or three people; just because it makes life so much easier. It may be more fun to shop in a large groups but if you are alone or in a small group you can get all your shopping done a lot faster, plus you don't have to worry about your family or friends seeing what you are buying for them. I love shopping with my family and friends but when you are Christmas shopping you don't have the time to wait for someone to decide whether they want to buy something. It is so much easier, convenient and quicker to do your Christmas shopping alone. Also, if you have children, it might be easier to leave them at home with a family member so you don't have tantrums in the store, fights over toys or them complaining that they are bored.

10. MAP OUT FOOD AND DRINKS STOP
With it getting nearer to Christmas, the shops will be so busy but so will all the coffee shops and restaurants. So it is ideal to map out when you want to stop for a drink or food; also I would recommend taking a bottle of drink and a snack with you just in case all cafes are full. Use a coffee stop or an evening meal as a motivator to help keep you going. Its great to refuel, take a break, gather yourself and figure out what else you have left to buy. The best times for a coffee stop is early in the morning or mid afternoon, otherwise they will likely be full, especially around lunchtime. 

I hope that this Christmas survival guide will help you when buying those last minute Christmas presents and will hopefully make the shopping trip a lot less stressful. I follow these tips myself and they make the whole process easier, quicker and leave me feeling not stressed at all. Feel free to leave your Blogmas posts in the comments so I can go read them for myself!


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