We’ve probably said it here a ton of different times, but we both love Christmas gift shopping – from the list writing and the carefully picked out items, to wrapping those gifts and finally handing them over to the intended recipient for them to open on Christmas Day. We’ve usually super organised and get things sorted pretty early, but we know everyone isn’t that way inclined, leaving it until well into December to get their presents sorted, so we thought it’d be fun to put together a few tips on what we find useful when it comes to gift shopping at this time of year.
1. Plan and keep track
We know that some people will never be planners, so Christmas shopping is never going to be any different, but it definitely makes a big difference if you have a rough idea of things like suitable shops, budgets and the time frame you’re working with. For example, there’s no point in looking at gifts which will take 6 weeks to be delivered if the big day is less than 5 weeks. Similarly, you don’t want to go and blow your entire budget on just one gift and be unable to get anything else until your next pay day. Typically, I’ll have a rough idea of how many people I have to buy for, the sorts of things I’m looking for, and the budget I have for each person, so I know what’s within reach and I can tick things off as I go. I also make sure that when I get home from shopping, I write down everything that I’ve bought and how much it cost, just to make sure that I know how much money I’ve parted with and I don’t forget anything.
2. Go early
This goes both for time of the year and time of the day. You will have more time to save money, decide on items, shop for them, and wrap gifts the further away from Christmas you shop. We like to get started anytime after Halloween, so by this point in mid-November we’re pretty well into it and don’t have a ton more things to buy. It makes for a much more relaxed run up to the holidays, as we don’t have major gift-buying anxiety to contend with and we also don’t have to make those stress-filled trips to the busiest stores well into December. When it comes to time of day, I always try and get into shops early on Saturday mornings – they are better stocked with merchandise earlier in the day and the crowds are much thinner, so you can look at things better and there are less queues to pay, etc.
3. Look for discounts
I’ve already saved a ton of money this year just by waiting for certain shops to drop their prices or by checking out stores that sent me voucher codes to my inbox. It’s so easy to sign up to voucher / deal website these days that there’s no excuse not to get bargain deals on your Christmas gifts and that either means you get to buy more items for your loved ones, or you get to save money that can be put aside for the future. Also, look out for in-store offers, like 3 for 2 on gift items, or items that have been reduced to half price going into holiday season – there’s a bunch of money to be saved, you just have to look for it.
4. Take a friend
I always find it easier to gift shop if I go with someone else I trust to help me pick out nice things. Hana and I almost always go gift shopping together at least once or twice through November and December, not only because we buy for a lot of the same people, but we also trust each other in helping us pick out the best kinds of things. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices on offer, so it’s great to get a second opinion on things you’re not 100% sure about, especially if you’re just picking things out to check that next person off your list. Plus, it makes for a fun coffee date once the shopping is over and you’re looking for a post present buying treat.
5. Remember what it’s all about
I know how easy it is to get carried away when you’re out gift shopping and you see a ton of different things you just know that your bestie will adore, but you need to be sure to reign it in if you think you’re getting a bit silly with your spending. At the end of the day, those who love you will appreciate any gift, no matter how big or small it is, because it came from you. People understand that everyone will have different budgets to work with, and a home-made gifts costing just a little has just as much sentiment as an expensive piece of jewellery or a bottle of perfume. Similarly, don’t let your expectations of others be too high when it comes to receiving gifts too – appreciate everything that is given to you this holiday season, you have more than just gifts to be thankful for.