Article by BR Natalie
I have a confession. I started my Christmas shopping last year and was finished by May. I even have presents for next year already in the Christmas cupboard. Everyone is accounted for and I am spending no more!
But I wasn't always this organised. I've done the 'I've just been paid, time to race around the mall three days before Christmas' thing. Numerous times. And boy oh boy does it suck the festivity out of the festive season.
So the Beauty Crew have put their heads together and have amassed our vast shopping experience to bring you our top ten tips for stress free Christmas shopping!
1. Reccy. Invest time in a bit of reconnaissance. List everyone you want to buy for and brainstorm ideas. There's nothing like checking items off a list to limit stress and have a visual of your progress.
2. Budget. Work out what you can afford to spend and stick to it. This is part of the reason I like to shop through the year, I can't stand the huge dent in finances that last minute shopping can create.
3. Beat the rush. Ok with less than a month to go, this probably seems like a cow's opinion. But think about it - the malls will be thrice as busy in three weeks time than they are right now. Emptier malls are less stress. They just are.
4. Be prepared. If you're planning a huge shopping stint, be sure to make it as enjoyable as possible. I like to keep treat sized Snickers in my pocket to keep The Husband amiable. Wear comfortable shoes and if you're going to buy a lot, consider how you're going to lug the purchases around. Halfway through a shopping mission, I deposit The Husband and boys somewhere fun, leave them with the accrued bags, and go off to do the last half myself.
5. Late night. Make the most of late night shopping. Call in the Nanna or your favourite babysitter, hit the mall and hey, why not combine it with a date night - catch a film or have a nice meal after. Win-win.
6. Online. Avoid the crowds all together and shop around in the comfort of your own PJs. Now you're probably pushing it for international delivery, but there are lots of amazing NZ sites with reasonable pricing and amazing delivery time frames.
7. Vouchers. Vouchers are not the same as giving someone cash. Vouchers say "I know the sorts of things you like, I just don't know what you would like exactly." Case in point. The Husband once went into a local boutique store I love. I unwrapped an Owl Toilet Roll Holder that Christmas. Now had I opened an envelope containing a voucher for said store, The Husband would not be known as the man who gave me a toilet roll holder for Christmas, but the man who knows what store I like!
8. Beware the money traps. Let's be honest, chances are whatever you buy is going to end up on special (another win for vouchers!) but if you're going to buy presents beware of money traps. Christmas themed chocolate - you could probably buy much yummier chocolate without a little Santa on it for less. Items advertised as 'stocking fillers' or in a Christmas box - stand back and assess. Genuine stocking filler, or tat with Christmas written on it?
9. Beware of DIY. Everyone (well not everyone...) loves a homemade gift. But don't be fooled into thinking homemade is cheaper, or easier. Do you want to knit hubby a pair of 'special socks' or buy him a 5 pack of good-enough socks? Weigh up the cost of materials, your time and not to mention crafter's stress, when the finished result looks like this Pinterester is a daytime drinker. Is it worth it?
10. Let it go. It's Christmas. It's the season of peace, love and joy. Hey if you don't find the perfect gift for someone don't stress, that's what receipts are for!