The festive season can be one of the most fun, crazy and stressful times of the year. Planning holidays, Christmas family feasts and of course – finding the perfect gift for your loved ones. It should be the time of year where you’re relaxing and enjoying yourself but tackling busy shops, budget planning and getting everything organised in time can leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
To promote a stress-free Christmas, prior planning is absolutely essential. Shopping for presents doesn’t need to be a hectic experience; leave the panic behind with these hot tips and start enjoying the festive season.
1. Start Early
Leaving all your Christmas shopping to the very last minute is a recipe for disaster. You’re bound to overspend, forget something or cause yourself a whole heap of unnecessary stress. Start your shopping early! Be prepared by making a list of people you need to buy for and an idea on what you can purchase for them. If you’re planning to hold a festive lunch or dinner at your house, you’ll want to organise lists for this too and get to the shops as early as possible.
Getting present shopping out the way as quickly as possible means you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the break. And we all know how busy the shops get in the lead-up to Christmas, so you’ll avoid hours looking for a parking spot and lining up too.
2. Establish a Budget
A festive season cannot be complete without a budget in place. Whether it’s for Christmas shopping so you don’t go in overspending or it’s for Christmas food and drinks and those holiday plans, establishing a budget early can keep things in check.
Start by writing out a list of who you need to buy for and allocate an amount to each friend and family member. Be realistic about what you want to spend and make sure it fits into the budget accordingly. And if you spend under the allocated amount for someone that just means more money in your pocket at the end of the day – who says Christmas shopping can’t be fun!?
3. Shop Online
Shopping online has boomed in popularity over the years and it’s no wonder why, who doesn’t like shopping in the comfort of their own home with a glass of vino in your hand? There’s no need to find a carpark, tackle lines at the counter of spend hours walking aimlessly around to find the perfect gift – shopping online can save you a lot of time, money and sanity. Not to mention the oodles of options they have available too.
Almost everything is online these days so shopping on the web is an opportunity to easily compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal. You can look for personalised gifts, Christmas hampers to suits different tastes and hobbies, clothes vouchers to their favourite online shop or find new present ideas you know they’ll love. Just make sure you check the delivery costs before you commit to a buy and estimate arrival date. Opt for local online shopping where possible to avoid long delivery waits and high postage charges.
4. Arrange a Secret Santa
If you are part of a big family or have a long list of friends to buy for, why not arrange a Secret Santa this year? Whilst Secret Santa gift exchanges are usually done in corporate environments they can be very practical for families, groups of friends or social sport clubs too.
Names are drawn at random and a budget is set. Instead of buying multiple presents for your friends or family, participants will only have to purchase one each. Everyone still gets a gift to open but it’s a great way to save money and encourage thoughtful and surprise gift giving in larger groups.
5. Do It Yourself
Everyone loves receiving handmade gifts. There’s something special about the care and attention that goes into them that makes you appreciate it that much more. You don’t have to be craft-savvy too make it work either. Opt for some freshly baked Christmas cookies secured in a nice jar with a festive ribbon, mini edible gingerbread snow globes, a framed photo collage or a hobby-inspired DIY gift like these recycled Vinyl notebooks and bass string charm bracelets – perfect present ideas for the music lover.
Homemade gifts can save a ton of money and there’s heaps of inspiration out there. If you’re struggling for ideas, Pinterest is loaded with Christmas themed gifts or try a fruit mince pie recipe. It’s said that craft and baking can reduce stress levels too, so you’re bound to have a little fun with this idea!
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Just in Time Gourmet – the best selection of Christmas hampers to shop online for this year. With a diverse range of gift hampers and gourmet food products, there is something to quench every appetite. You can catch her on Google+.