Have you ever added up all the time you’ve spent Christmas shopping over the years? (On second thoughts, maybe don’t!)
This year, why not do it differently and get all your Christmas gifts bought in a couple of days? That way you can focus the rest of your time on enjoying the festive season – and perfecting your smug face.
Here’s the plan to follow:
Step 1: Saturday morning
Make a list or spreadsheet on your computer of all the people you need to buy a Christmas present for and set a budget for each. Then group your giftees into categories; gender and age group work best.
Have an initial brainstorm, where you write ideas for each person, considering their hobbies and interests. You can keep them vague for example: Mum, something for the garden; brother: DIY stuff. Where there’s an obvious shop or website that sells the sort of thing you would be looking for, make a note of it.
If you come up stumped on anyone, ask someone else close to them for any ideas, or simply ask them what they would like. It’s better to get them something you know they want than a surprise that they don’t.
Step 2: Saturday afternoon
It’s time for some online shopping. As you’re probably still in the ideas stage, start by looking at websites dedicated to gifts, such as notonthehighstreet.com, buyagift.com, firebox.com or prezzybox.com.
These websites often categorise their gifts, so work through your list, ticking the appropriate boxes on the site. For example, gifts for him, age 30-40, under £50.
Scroll through and make a note of any inspired ideas, and save the links to any gifts you particularly like under the giftee’s name.
Then go through your Christmas gift list again, looking at websites dedicated to your idea – so perhaps a garden centre site for mum or just pop it into the search engine of amazon.com, for example. Again, save links to anything you like the look of under the giftee’s name.
For inspiration, some great gift ideas include the Oral-B 9000s Electric Toothbrush for gadget lovers, a Braun shaver or trimmer for hubby, and any woman in your life will love a new pot of their favourite Olay moisturiser.
Right, that’s enough staring at the computer for one day. Give yourself the night off.
Step 3: Sunday morning
With a fresh pair of eyes, go back through your list and click on each link you have saved under each name. Settle on your favourite idea for each person and delete the rest.
Now it’s time to make a handwritten list (or type one out on your phone if you prefer). Write down the item you have settled on for each person, or a more specific idea if you are yet to find any gifts you are happy with.
If the item is from a shop’s website, make a note of the shop so you can pop in and check out the gift in real life. Buying something online can often lead to disappointment when the gift turns up not looking as it did in the photograph. If it’s only available online, list a shop where you will find something similar. For example a garden centre, a department store, a DIY shop or sports store.
Now it’s time to head to the shops…
Step 4: Sunday afternoon
Head to each shop on your list, starting with the big department stores where you can buy a number of gifts in one place. Look to see if you can find anything you prefer to what you saw online. If you do, buy it.
Also buy anything that you saw online but you can get over the counter – as long as it’s the same price or less, of course (including the cost of P&P).
Remember to keep track of your budget for each person, particularly if you are buying them a number of small bits, and cross off each name as you go.
TIP: always get gift receipts so you can return what you’ve bought if you see something better later in the day, or want to include the receipt with the present, just in case.
Step 5: Sunday evening
Back at home, go through the list on your computer, click on your favoured link for anyone you haven’t yet bought something for, and buy the gift from online.
Cross off every name on your list for that sense of satisfaction and put your feet up. Santa Claus, eat your heart out!
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