1. Christmas gift list
Keep a checklist in your purse so you don’t buy two Christmas presents for the same person.
2. Don’t rush
Pace your spending and get one Christmas gift at a time. Take one little detour each time you go out – on one day pop into the toy shop while waiting for football practice to finish, and the next day get that bottle of perfume while you’re buying toothpaste!
3. Online Shopping – plan ahead
Make sure there’s plenty of time to get the gifts delivered, bearing in mind the postal workload and possible bad weather at Christmas. You won’t want to buy a standby gift if one you’ve paid for is stuck in transit.
4. Expect the Christmas Gift Exchange
Ask for a gift receipt and shop at a store that has a branch local to the person you’re buying for. DON’T buy too early or the returns period will have expired by December 26.
5. Buying gifts for children
Don’t buy toys with small pieces for a child with younger siblings. Avoid giving toys they already have by buying books or generic gifts (like Lego bricks that can be added to existing sets) instead.
6. Buying toys for kids
Be considerate – buy toys that are easy to store, washable and if necessary, buy a carry case for all the pieces that come with a game or set – once the box has been opened, the bits with be everywhere!
7. Does it need batteries?
Check these are included, where needed, or add a pack to your gift if they aren’t.
8. Make it special
When buying something practical (like an umbrella or a purse) choose a colour you know the person likes but wouldn’t buy themselves. E.g., daring scarlet gloves rather than practical black ones.
9. Gift tokens
Who are you buying for? If the tokens are for a child, is there a games or DVD department in the branch of that high street store where they live? Does your mum really shop online for music or would she prefer clothes vouchers? And choose tokens that last at least a year or ideally ones that never expire.
10. Christmas gifts for the person who has everything
Forget vases and socks! Choose foodie treats like posh olive oils or speciality teas – these always get used, and even £10 will get you something great.
Savvy tip – plan ahead for next year’s Christmas
Start a notebook for next year so you can refer to it for ideas you can’t find this Christmas, and gifts already given.