When should you start your Christmas shopping?

It’s the same every year. As soon as one Christmas is over we have all kinds of good intentions about the next one. We decide that next Christmas we will definitely get better organised further in advance so it won’t be the usual last minute rush.

But here we are! Almost December already. 

If you did follow through and get super organised, that’s great. You can sit back and relax. But for the rest of us it’s now time to get our act together. Better late than never.

Here is our quick guide to getting your Christmas shopping sorted.

 

Five tips for stress-free Christmas shopping

  • Make a list

Be like Santa! Make a list and check it twice. At least. 

It can seem really boring just sitting and making a list when you could be hitting the shops. But it will save you so much time on shopping if you know what kind of things you are looking for.

So take time to make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for. Then have a really good think about what they would like. For example:

  • What are their current interests and passions?
  • Is there anything they’ve mentioned that they want to do or would love to have?
  • Do they have an old favourite item that has either broken or is wearing out?
  • Is there any unusual or quirky item that you think they would like?

You can also use this list to work out how much money you need for Christmas shopping. See our recent article How much money will you spend this Christmas? for more tips on how to do this.

 

  • Research items and prices

Once you have a better idea of the kind of items you need to buy, spend more time researching the best options and also some likely places to get them.

For example, if you’ve decided to get some kind of lego set for a younger member of the family, browse online for different types of set to see which they might like best. There are so many popular trends – for example Super Mario, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Winter Village – that unless you spend time researching the best options, you won’t know what’s out there.

You then need to compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Why spend more than you need to if you can get the identical item much cheaper in one place than another?

 

  • Set aside time for an online shop

It can be a good idea to do all your online shopping in one go, otherwise it’s easy to lose track of what you have and haven’t ordered. Doing everything in one go also helps you to work out what you still need to go out shopping for, particularly if you find that some items are out of stock online.

Be aware that there are potential extra opportunities for online bargains on Black Friday (26th November) and Cyber Monday (29th November). This is another way that your planning will help you. You will be able to focus on looking for the best prices on the things you know you definitely want, rather than just grabbing things on impulse because they are a bargain.

When your parcels begin to arrive, make sure you open and check them straightaway so that any errors or defects can be sorted out. And do keep all receipts safely in case of any queries later.

If possible, try to wrap and label items as they arrive. Then you can tick them off your list and store them safely until Christmas.

 

  • Have a Christmas shopping day out

By now you should know what you still need to buy from stores. So plan a day out Christmas shopping. Aim to get everything done in one day. Yes, it might be tiring, but what a sense of achievement!

Give some thought as to where you are going to go, even if this means travelling to somewhere different from where you may normally shop. Ideally you need to find a place that has all the shops you need, as close together as possible.

Also bear in mind that if you have a lot of shopping to do it may be better to drive to where you plan to shop. You can then return to the car at different points during the day to leave your shopping. Obviously make sure it is stored securely and out of sight.

And when you get home, as with your online shopping, double check that everything is ok with what you have bought. Then get them wrapped and labelled as soon as possible.

 

  • Buy some back up gifts

If you have done all the above, you should be well-prepared for Christmas. But it’s always a good idea to have a few back up gifts, just in case. 

For example, if you are having a few friends round for drinks before Christmas, there’s every chance that someone might surprise you with a gift and you don’t have one for them. Or you might be visiting a relative over Christmas and someone turns up with a gift for you that you weren’t expecting.

In situations like this, backup gifts can really help. So why not buy and wrap a few small gifts that you can keep either in an upstairs cupboard or in the car if you’re travelling. Either make your gifts suitable for all ages and genders or have different bags to separate out different kinds of gifts. 

Some examples of small backup gifts are:

  • Chocolates or sweets
  • Biscuits
  • Bottle of wine
  • Notebook and pen
  • Mini toiletries
  • Scarf
  • Socks
  • A mug
  • Coasters
  • Card games or puzzles

You may decide that in some situations it’s fine to accept a gift from someone without giving one in return. But having a few backup gifts could save potential embarrassment, and if you don’t use them they could always make good birthday gifts for 2022.

 

We hope that this article has helped you organise your Christmas shopping and make it as stress-free as possible. 

In our recent article How much money will you spend this Christmas? we looked at the cost of Christmas and different ways to make sure you have enough money to cover those costs. 

If your finances do need a quick boost during this time, remember that Advantage offers online loans that may help to bridge the gap and enable you to have the kind of Christmas you’re looking forward to.

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Advantage Loans.