How can I make Christmas shopping stress-free?
It may come around once a year, but it’s funny how we suddenly forget how much effort Christmas shopping actually takes. Even if you do it all online, you still need to make lots of decisions and be home to receive parcels without anyone seeing something they shouldn’t. So here are some suggestions to make it easier this year:
Make some small cutbacks
Now we’re not expecting you to turn into scrooge, but there might be ways you can agree to cut down on your spending as a family, which means there will be less to do later on.
- Just buy for children – if you have a large family with lots of children to buy for, why don’t you say to the adults that you’d rather focus on the children instead.
- Start a Secret Santa – some families put everyone’s names in a hat and take turns to draw a person’s name from it. Then they only buy a gift for that person.
- Set a budget for each gift – this will avoid any embarrassment and it will also make it easier to find gifts; if you know you only have fifteen pounds for example, you can filter your internet results to only show gifts worth that amount.
Think Christmas, all year round
If you have lots of people on your list, it’s best to be as organised as possible. So if you see something someone might like in July, don’t be afraid to put it aside for the festive period.
- Start a Christmas cupboard – some people keep an eye out for Christmas gifts throughout the year. Not only does this spread the cost, but it means there’s less to do later on and you can pick up some bargains in the sales.
- Set up a festive fund – to help budget for the party season, set up a savings account and pay in monthly amounts through out the year. Some buildings societies have special Christmas accounts, or you might like to consider a Christmas Savings Club.
- Keep a gift list in your diary – when you’ve spent a weekend with friends or family, try to jot down any ideas for gifts that have come up in conversation or any other thoughts you may have which could be useful at the end of the year. For example, did you notice your friend’s wallet was looking a bit worn? Was your mother warm enough when you went for a walk or could she do with a new scarf or jumper?
Be an early bird
The easiest way to take stress out of shopping is to start it nice and early. After all, it doesn’t get much more stressful than hunting for gifts on Christmas Eve. Plus you’re more likely to find good deals if you buy them before December.
- Sign up to supermarket newsletters and work out when they release their delivery times for Christmas week. If you can get all your food shopping delivered to your home, you’ll avoid the dreaded queues in the car park or at the till, as well as dodging trolleys in the aisles.
- Buy all your perishable food items well in advance of Christmas Day. And if you’re going to order a turkey, make sure you do it in plenty of time to avoid missing out.
- If you’re going out for lunch, make sure you book your table well in advance.
- When you start your shopping early, it’s important to make as many lists as you need to so you don’t overbuy or miss anyone out.
If you’re worried everything is getting on top of you in the run up to Christmas, don’t suffer in silence. It’s very common for people to feel anxious and stressed at this time of year. So try to get help from family where possible. And if things get really bad – but hopefully they won’t – speak to your GP.