This year I've done most of my Christmas shopping online. With all my people sorted, I thought it would be fun to give you some inspiration. While touring the shops today, I realised how overwhelming it can be; I was just grateful my shopping was done!
First of all, here are some tips for starting/continuing your Christmas shopping:
1. I like to write a list of all the people I need to buy for
I think it is essential so you don't miss anyone! That might seem impossible, but for those with bigger families with parents, step-parents, grandparents, children, aunties, uncles, friends, colleagues and other extended family, it's easily done. In recent years, I've also become more savvy with who I choose to buy for. Christmas is a season to give and be generous, but sometimes you need to think properly who you buy for. I'd say I have a lot of good friends, but now only buy items for my best friends who I am closest to. I think it saves awkward moments. I also like to buy for secret santas at work (it's just good fun), but currently I am in a temporary job so don't really have "friends" at work as such.
2. Then I write what each person likes or might be wanting for Christmas
For example, this is some of the things from my list:
Friend 1: Loves anything rabbit-related, home stuff, drinking, disney, or something personalised
Friend 2: Loves Disney, Star Wars, Ru Paul, makeup, beauty, bath etc
Friend 3: Loves zombie things, makeup, bath, candles, books, stationery
Dad: Needs new clothes. Usually get him a bath-related item, jelly babies, something jokey in terms of t-shirt or whatever.
3. I look these things up online
Like most people, I have favourite websites to buy from and ones that I trust using more than others. This year, I looked up things on websites including: Firebox, Debenhams, Etsy, not on the high street, Amazon, eBay and QVC.
Firebox, Etsy and Not on the High Street are brilliant for getting that thing that is original or bit different. I don't want to give too much away but there are endless possibilities on these sites from making things with personalised pictures, messages and specific memorabilia for fans of things like Marvel, Star Wars or any films/TV.
Debenhams had some amazing bargains especially during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. I bought heaps online through their click and collect. I even bought my remaining shopping from there today. There were lots of amazing items, and only reason I didn't get more was because I got everything I needed for certain people, and presents were already sent.
I didn't see anything on Amazon this year, but they are often the go-to for so many people. I find them really good for affordable books, DVDs and anything in-between. My Dad keeps getting packages for them for just about everything (not even christmas related - Mum buys everything for him!)
QVC is a big addiction in my family. It's where we get many great deals on beauty items from the likes of Tarte, Liz Earle, Laura Geller, Elemis and many more. I also bought my first Lulu Guinness through them because you could pay in three easy payments. A lot of their items do this, which is amazing. Best of all, it's interest free. You just pay through easy payments of 2, 3 or 4 depending on what it is.
At first, I tried to buy things completely online but feel there are pros and cons to doing online or being shops. For example, being in shops you can gain advice for shop assistants who know more about the products, look and touch them before paying a penny and get a better view of the colours etc. However staying online, you feel more organised, avoid the crowds and get to buy things from the comfort of your home.
I've found nice stocking fillers or small things to add to presents in Primark this year. For example, the obligatory sock purchase and accessories. I've also found fab things in Marks and Spencer which I don't usually like such as the shirt for Dad. I also liked the underwear, pjs and accessories for myself! I bought bath related gift for my Dad at Lush. Other than that, it's all been online.
4. I research the best places to buy from
Sometimes I have a specific item in mind, but want to get it at the best price. For example, I wanted to get a friend a candle-related item from Flamingo Candles, but wanted to see if there were sites that sold it cheaper. Luckily I saved about £5 buying on eBay (brand new and from a business) and kept doing things like this throughout my shop. I also found the items at Aldi to be amazing with great festive food, and love their chocolate the most! Aldi is also selling heaps of Disney, Star Wars, hats, socks and Christmas jumpers which make amazing presents.
5. Budget and buy!
Similar to above, I tend to set limits on how much I spend on people. For example, I strictly spend £30 on each of my friends which means I can get lots of little bits. It's great because I used to spend £20 but found it really hard to find decent things that price or it would just be one big present. I usually spend about £30-£50 on my Dad and £50-£100 on my Mum, but this isn't strict. If I see other things, I tend to get them or if I feel what I've got is a lot, I leave it.
6. Post things in time
Royal mail says to send second-class you need to send your items by the 21st December. I sent all mine by last Saturday. I can honestly say it was an annoying expense, but worth it to spread joy to my friends who live further away. I'm not being ungenerous, but this is because you not only pay to get it sent but also: box to fit perfectly, wrapping, and then the postage for every item you have separately. I think the best presents are lots of little things rather than one big thing.
7. Enjoy doing it!
It's easy to get stressed shopping for Christmas. I know I can feel overwhelmed and full of too many ideas. However I think it's important to not get worked-up and enjoy it! I usually try to make little traditions; some are things I do alone, some are recent traditions and some are just nice things to do on the build-up to Christmas.
For example, I love to treat myself to something specific to reward myself for completing my Christmas shopping in time. I don't mean buying the usual things you might from month to month such as a new top, going out dress or a favourite makeup thing. I mean something you might have wanted for some time! One year I bought myself tickets to see Alan Carr, other years I've treated myself to beauty items I've been curious about or something that bit more expensive. I love this tradition!
Recent traditions have including opening one present on Christmas Eve from my mother before the big day. It's sometimes something very small like it started with a crystal keyring. Since then, I've not let her forget it. Other traditions are included in my recent post here.
Hope my tips help, and here are pictures of the items I bought today for my Dad:
Mr Grumpy Mug, Debenhams, £8
Jelly Babies, Iceland, 2 for £4
Belgian White Chocolate, Waitrose, £1.70
Earphones, Primark, £1.50
It sounds like a rubbish present, but my Dad is always running around losing his earphones and saying I took them despite mine being a different colour, so thought these might stand out for him.
Toaster Tin with Cookies inside, Waitrose, £6.27
Red Check Shirt, Marks and Spencer, £19.50
Then I got myself:
Urban Decay - Naked Skin Concealer, Debenhams, £17.50
Black Pumps - Primark, £3
How is your Christmas shopping coming along? One week until Christmas...it doesn't even feel real!
Hope you are loving the Blogmas posts, and didn't miss yesterday's post about my favourite Christmas adverts.