I’m the sort of person who does all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. It’s not that I enjoy the mad rush around whatever shops are still open, grabbing whatever’s left in the vain hope that my family members will appreciate whatever gem I’ve picked up from Debenhams’ bargain section. I genuinely enjoy Christmas shopping, stopping off at Starbucks to get a Christmas drink, coming home and separating the presents into piles. It’s just somehow, every year, it always happens. Every October time, I’ll find a few presents online, save the links in a bookmarked folder, and forget about them entirely. I love finding the perfect present for someone I love, but as a student when the end of the Winter term comes around, my bank is empty and my incentive to buy presents is at a low.
So how can we get past this stress?
1. Make it a day out
Bring a friend or relative with you. Shopping alone, while sometimes productive, is rarely as fun. There might be a Christmas market in your local town or city, find out when this is and try and coincide this with your shopping. It’s always more fun to get into the Christmassy spirit when you have someone by your side to sing Mariah Carey to, or carry your bags when the Topshop sale lures you in. If you make it feel like a chore, you’ll never get round to doing it!
2. Check out online too
Whilst your local shopping centre will be expansive, nothing can quite compare to the vastness of the Internet. From notonthehighstreet.co.uk to reliable Amazon, it’s nearly impossible not to find something online. Express delivery might be expensive, but chances are it will be about the same price as a return bus ticket into the city. You’ll find thousands of websites, groaning with Christmas offers and desperate for you to buy their products. Chances are, the quirkier gift will be found online and personalised gifts are around every corner, most likely at a cheaper price than what you’ll find in the shops.
3. Make it count
There’s no point going shopping for a present if you’re going to come back in tears, buying something you could have made yourself for half the price. Presents are about the thought behind it, what you buy is just a bonus really. As much as it kills me to say it, Jessie J was right – it’s not about the price tag (and it’s not her party either, and Bang Bang is a silly song). If you’re spending over £50 and completely emptying your bank for one gift, take a step back. Is this the only option? Even if you have a few days/one day/a few hours left before Christmas, you always have time to weigh up your options. Don’t just buy a meaningless present – if you wouldn’t want to receive the present, don’t buy it.