How To Beat The Christmas Shopping Blues

christmas shopping

After finding myself frantically dashing around the Trafford Centre last Christmas Eve, I vowed never to leave my shopping that late again. EVER. And I’m doing okay actually! Okay, fine. I may have slightly been doing that thing where you start off well and then get all relaxed and smug about the situation, only to then realise that you’re merely a couple of weeks away from the big day and still haven’t bought anything for Auntie Joan who is notoriously a nightmare to shop for.

So, if you’re anything like me and seem to have a tendency to work extremely closely to deadlines, then here are five tips to help you get through the slog that is Christmas shopping.

1. The 6 P’s:

Preparation and prior planning prevents piss-poor performance. This is a good phrase to remember when Christmas shopping. It is an absolute MUST to be prepared before you enter the mayhem that is the shopping centre. Otherwise you will end up aimlessly wandering, not really buying anything and, ultimately, getting frustrated. So, have a list of some sort. Some good examples: shops you need to visit, people you need to buy for, budget. Have a think about what to get each person before you even set off for the shops, otherwise you are more likely to impulse buy and you might end up buying something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but is actually rubbish.

2. Be calm:

I know it’s difficult when the people in front of you are walking at snail’s pace, or there are a group of people having a chat in front of the items you want to look at. I know it’s frustrating when all you want to buy is a Christmas card and the queue is a mile long, or that all the prices are bumped up because it’s Christmas. I also know that it’s a nightmare when you have no idea what to get somebody, and inspiration simply will not strike. However, you must try and keep a clear head because, again, you will end up with shoddy gifts, or worse, no gifts at all. Do not storm back to your car, do not be beaten out of the shops. Get your elbows out and get buying.

3. Wear appropriate clothing:

Okay, this might seem strange, but let’s just think about it for a minute. It’s really cold out (it being winter and all), so naturally you want to wrap yourself up to the eyeballs in layers. This is a mistake. Crowds, heated shops and enclosed shopping centres are NOT compatible with a human who is hidden beneath four layers of clothing. You will sweat and this WILL make you more stressed. My solution is, wear something adequately warm (max two layers – e.g cardigan then coat), and apply layers as necessary. Put your scarf, hat, gloves, ear muffs, whatever, into your bag and you can take them on and off accordingly. It might seem a faff, but you will be grateful you’re not having to think about spontaneous combustion as well as what to buy Aunt Rita (I don’t know who all of these fictional aunties are by the way).

4. Have a contingency plan:

So you’ve decided what you’re getting for your brother or whoever. You make a beeline for the shop that sells said item, only to find they’ve sold out. It’s vital that you have other options! Thanks to point one, you will have already located all stores that sell said item in your town centre, problem solved. If not, again thanks to point one, you will have plenty of time left before Christmas to order it online.

5. Pick useful gifts:

I know a lot of people think it’s lame to ask others what they want for Christmas, but in my opinion, it totally isn’t. What could be better than getting someone something they actually want? You can always get them a little something on the side for a surprise. Steer clear of gifts that are funny on Christmas day, but will ultimately never be used again. I know it’s tempting when you don’t know what to get someone but keep calm, have faith and you will find something that is perfect for them that they will actually use.

There’s still time, folks! Take a deep breath, the end is not quite nigh. Take this advice, clutch it to your bosom, go forth into the throngs of harassed and angry shoppers, and show them what cool, calm and collected really looks like.

What are your best tips for successful Christmas shopping? Let me know in the comments below!




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  • Jo

    This is such a great idea, and a wonderful post! I’m usually pretty on the ball when it comes to Christmas – last year I had bought all my presents by the end of November. But this year, I struggled to come up with anything to get people. I’m a huge fan of giving presents and really putting thought into my gifts, but with a lack of inspiration, I started to worry. In my familly, all of us but my dad write wishlists of various things we would like (books, DVDs, CDs, other bits and pieces) as a guide/inspiration if we struggle. I’m not a fan of asking someone what they want, they tell you that one thing, and you get that one thing. There’s no surprise there, and I like coming up with my own ideas. So with us, it’s more of a “If you can think of something to get me, awesome, but if not, here are a few things I’d like,” guide, and the giftee still has no clue what they’ll be receiving, even if it is something from their list, because there’s a variety.

    (My dad though? Ask him what he wants, and he’ll tell you socks. He genuinely likes receiving novelty socks (as do I!), so he’s pretty happy to receive some. But he won’t mention anything else. And he is now SO HARD to buy for as he does everything digitially – books, music, movies. I can’t wrap digital things up! Ugh.)

    I did do the aimless wondering around a shopping centre hoping for inspiration in November, but it didn’t get me anywhere. I’m lying, I bought two things. But otherwise, it was a waste of time. I’m hoping to do better next year.

    I love your point on staying calm. It is such a busy time, and I can understand why people would be so stressed out, but working in retail, I’ve seen how that stress can be taken out on the staff at the shops. I actually wrote a post about it on my blog. 🙂

    Great post as always, Suzy!