So the count down is on, and you still have a list as long as your arm of things you need to buy. Be it presents, decorations, food and this is on top of going to work, walking the dog or maybe doing that thing whats it call oh yeah sleep. As things can get out of hand quickly, and slowly that budget you had in mind is doubled because your grabbing at whatever you can. Don't cry into your Christmas jumper just yet ... Probably because you have had no time to buy one. I'll give you some of my top tips to keep it stress free and make the best Christmas you can on whatever time and money you have. Of course this is just how I manage mine, so I hope any of this will help and if you have any tips please, please leave a comment and share the stress free love.
Check those cupboards..
See what you have it's often a second thought to dig everything out, if you have a ton of decorations from the year before than use them or why keep them. I discovered a stocking garland I forget about and saved myself another tenner, on the one I was going to buy. I think a great way to get inspired is to pick up the free magazines in supermarkets (sometimes they have discount coupons inside which you may find handy), they often have simple D.I.Y projects and can give you simple ideas for Christmas displays. Pound shops are also a great place to get those extra bits and pieces if your money is tight, and picking up things to craft with.
Take some twigs from outside and paint them, I sprayed mine gold with spray paint from the pound shop. Take some string or rubber band and tie them together. Use an old jar, I used an old pasta one and fill it with rice. Cut the twigs down to size, so they make a mini tree. Take some mini tinsel and other decorations and dress your tree. This is great for extra little trees, or a main tree if you can't have a big one. We have used ours to let our boys make decorations for it. Check out pinterest for a ton of ideas for having some fun and making some pretty things.
Same goes for food, it's a couple of days not a four month event you don't have to go mad. If everyone is coming to you than roughly work out what you will need, and let everyone bring a little something if they like. If everything is selling out frozen can be a life saver, so try and empty it out before the Christmas shop to stock up on what you will need. I've lost count of the times I would buy Brussels sprouts that would go off just before Christmas day. Frozen are just as good and mean there's more room for chocolate and wine in my fridge.
He's making a list, he's checking it twice...
Take some advice from the man himself, it seems like it won't help but a list will give you focus and keep you on track to buying what you need. Because yes the sales are great for saving a little extra on those gifts, but if they are on things that the person won't really like or use it's a bit pointless. Think about who it's for, and have a couple of options so if something has sold out you have a back up. Set an amount for each person and stick to it as much as you can, and make sure you have put everyone on that list. From a small stocking filler for say a teacher or colleague, to the massive present for your other half, parent or best friend it adds up so list everything and don't add as you go along.
- I think it's great to keep it small if your on a budget, you don't have to buy for everyone. Giving a card is just as nice just to wish someone a Merry Christmas, so keep your list for people that you will be spending on. If your going to shop online, write down any promo codes you have on your list, or have any gift cards ready. This will save you so much time.
- A list for cards will also help, if you have children ask the teacher for a list and it will make life simple. You can always buy a Christmas stamp (or why not make one from a sponge or potato) and than sign your Child's name, great for if your busy but still want to spread some Christmas cheer. If you have more time you could always make some cards (great to keep the kids busy) and it's always lovely to receive something handmade.
Corben wears: ASDA Santa jumper (supporting Save The children) & Spiderman trainers / Primark jeans / Cheeky grin his own.
Okay so these are always my golden rules, they may seem like yeah I know that. But saying them and doing them will mean the difference between you wanted to smash a cash register off someones head and you leaving a shop happy with your gifts.
- Make sure you have your list
- check the night before that you have enough cash in your account if your spending on card, or take out the cash you will need add an extra £10 in there just in case. This will mean you don't have to waste time queueing outside with all the other Christmas shoppers at the ATM.
- A bottled drink be it water, fizz or a sporty drink. If your shopping and getting hot and it's busy this will keep you refreshed and focused.
- Eat before you shop. If you really can't than have a snack with you, again your more likely to become annoyed by the smallest thing if you feel light headed from rushing around.
- Put it on hold, this may not apply to sales items but with most things you can hold them. This may give you time to have a quick look around before pairing with your cash to than discover that up the road it was selling for £20 less. Just be ware of time on holds.
- Store check, most of the time you can just call a shop and find out if they have the item in stock before wasting your lunch break going there to found out they never stocked it at that store in the first place. Securing items is a massive weight off, but sometimes if there are sales on it's worth going in anyway as things are not always listed or can be held.
- Knowing when shops get deliveries, you can ask and it will make a difference. So those must have items are more likely to be in store.
- Look on social media accounts for any promos and events going on in store, it may help to even bag yourself a little treat.
- Ask someone, I know sometimes people don't always do their job, but ask someone else. There will be someone on that sells floor who will help and is more than happy to show you, and don't be afraid to not know where something is even if you are a savvy shopper. If you find service is awful, than just leave. In the end it's not worth your time or money and it's the shop that loses out, you can always let them know via social media/website that no one helped. In most cases, most people do want to help, even if it's busy shops usually have more staff over the Christmas season so take the help and it's worth checking if personal shoppers are free as most give an outstanding service. Mostly you have to book, but your luck may be in.
For people who you can never get it right for ..
- Ask for a gift receipt where possible, this is great to give to those people who you just have no idea about. It means they get what they want and you don't have to go back to the shops to change it for them.
- Gift cards, there is nothing wrong with giving them and if you have a ton to buy it will give your arms a break.
But I can't face the shops..
Thankfully you don't have to, online shopping is a great way to get everything done without even stepping foot in a shop. Just have a look at delivery times and cost, again factor them into your list and be aware that if your ordering from overseas it probably won't get to you in time. So keep it close and have any promo codes ready to use. Make sure you have your banks number on hand, as they may check if your spending a lot on your cards. If a site is crashing, and you have seen something in a leaflet and know the code, than you can order by phone. Even without the code, most shops will be able to track down items and you can purchase over the phone.
So I hope these ease your shopping woes, sorry if they don't and like I said let me know if you have any tricks or tips.