I am a freelance writer living in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. Bargain lover, explorer, and always ready to take on a challenge.
Published November 16th 2011
Christmas is a time for family, friends, memories, celebration, over eating and all round being merry, but for most of us Christmas is also a stressed out extravaganza of trying to find the best gifts.
Buying a gift for a friend or family member, or that relative who has everything is an ordeal at the best of times, but when you are having to buy for five, ten, twenty people it can make you feel as if your head is about to explode. So here are my top tips to go about your Christmas shopping with a little less stress.
First and foremost, instead of just running out and buying something you think they may like but have no idea, sit at home and write out a little blurb on each person you have to buy for. What are their hobbies, their favourite colours, what type of things do they like to do, are they a sentimental type of person or very practical? For example, do they like to have lots of BBQs, or go fishing, or do they like going bike riding and so forth. Even the most basic things, are they a smoker? Do they have children? everything you think could be relevant write it down. From dong this it will help build ideas for gifts a lot easier of the type of things you could buy.
Secondly, if you are a big spender or have champagne taste on a beer budget, try not to over do it. If you can, try to figure our a general figure of how much you wish to spend this Christmas just on presents (not including food and decorations). Allocate a reasonable amount of money you wish to spend on each person before shopping so you don't overspend. It is easy to get carried away with small children on gifts, one toy here and there before you know it by the time the big day comes around you'll look like santa with a bin sack of presents for a child who probably would be happy playing with just a box.
Thirdly, even if you're out and about and you see something which seems perfect, resist rushing over to the counter. Shop around. Most of the big stores stock a majority of the same products that are the big sellers. Go to the different stores and pick up their catalogues if you don't get them delivered. Take them home and circle the items that take your eye. Compare prices. If you take the time it will save you money and leave some in the bank for when all the festivities are over.
Have a look at lasoo.com.au this website has all the latest catalogues for the major stores, such as Target, Big W, Aldi, Crazy Clark's, Kmart, JBHifi, Myers and many more. It may seem a bit tedious, but you can browse the items in the comfort of your own home, without having to battle for a car parking space, or be squashed in the shops by the hundreds of other clueless shoppers. The benefit of doing this is you will know exactly which shop to go to and how much it will cost prior to even stepping out the front door.
Another tip is to keep aside some green to pick up some cheap hampers which are stocked in all the major shops. Why you ask? Every Christmas there is always an unexpected present from either a co-worker, a boss, an associate you were never that friendly with but they felt the need to buy you something, or even just that friend you forgot about. Keep them to one side so that when you receive your unexpected gift you have a safety net of being able to give something back without panicking and worrying of ''what am I going to give them, I have to find something quick!'' and also takes away any embarrassment as you appear to have thought of this person and intended to give them that hamper all along.
Remember to keep your receipts. Reason being, if your gift is not quite what the recipient wanted, or even if you do see the same gift at a cheaper price, take the other one back.
If you have family members/friends overseas, try out some great websites such as www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/, www.gadgets.co.uk/, www.shop.bt.com/ for those in the UK. Also try amazon and firebox.com. There are plenty of sites out there so have a search on line and most offer the ability to pay with paypal as well as credit card.
Okay so shopping done. A top tip, is after you buy a gift or two, when you return home, wrap them straight away. Many years of wrapping on Christmas eve have taught me this lesson. Remember to label as soon as you have wrapped a present - or give each person a number. On every present that is for say *Aunty Joan write the number 1, every present for *Cousin Stan number 2 and so on. Just be sure to write a list of names first with their number beside them so you don't get mixed up. This is handy when you have multiple gifts for individuals.
Finally remember it is just one day, and it happens every year, so if you don't get it right it's okay, there's always next year.