As Christmas approaches, we usually fall into one of two categories: organised early-bird or last-minute flusterer. Whether or not Christmas is your thing, the art of gift giving can be tiresome and strenuous, not to mention heavy on your bank balance.
For those who have all their Christmas shopping complete by November, we hate (and envy) you. But if you’re anything like us, listen up. We can actually learn from these organised gurus and steal some sneaky habits for ourselves. And don’t worry – we’re pretty certain you’ll feel motivated to get cracking by the end of this post.
1. Keep a ‘Christmas Binder’
Keep a Christmas binder or folder on your desktop to organise all of your ideas and keep on top of your thoughts ahead of the big rush. It should include a master gift list of everybody you need to buy for; any and all ideas; budgets and a record of your spending; receipts/digital receipts (for making returns) and a calendar to keep track of any sales.
2. Set Aside a Christmas Budget
Super organised shoppers have likely been setting aside a bit of their salary for the last few months, to aid in their gift-giving mission. If that’s you, great! If it’s not you, don’t panic. Take this month to set aside a bit of your paycheck to a savings account or Christmas pot. However much this is doesn’t really matter – Christmas is all about the thought and the point is to give what you can.
Additionally, many stores will allow you to spread the cost of gifts via a credit or store card. Though this can be a handy way to manage your cash flow in the run-up to Christmas, it does require an element of self-discipline to ensure you don’t let it spiral into debt, so do spend and budget wisely.
3. Be a Great Listener
Organised gift-givers are also excellent listeners. In the months leading up to Christmas, they hang on the words of their loved ones, holding out for slight hints of what they might want or need.
Now that Christmas is closer, this practice should be easier still. Listen to your friends and family talk, dropping prompts if necessary and asking probing questions. You could also quiz their nearest and dearest, to see if there’s any inside info you might have missed.
4. Organise Gifts By Store
Decide what you can buy online and what might require a proper trip to the store. Once you know what you need to hit the high street for, organise your trip by store, so you can condense your shopping into as few trips as possible.
5. Know When It’s Time to Buy
Keep a track on when various sales are on and when certain items are cheaper to buy. For example, a lot of sale ads come out on a Sunday leading retailers to price match their products, making Monday morning the best time to buy online.
Be sure to also make a note of shipping deadlines, with both retailers and postal services, to ensure your loved ones get their gifts on time. A good deadline to aim for (for shipping gifts) is December 10th, though most retailers will offer guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery up to much later than this.
6. Make Gift Wrapping Fun
Even once you’ve collected your little bundles of kindness, wrapping them in itself can be a real chore. Designate an area of your home (be it a table, desk or floor space) strictly for wrapping, keeping all of your supplies (paper, tape, scissors, ribbon) in an organised manner and to hand. When wrapping, have some chocolates or a glass of wine nearby, perhaps set to some soft festive music, to make the task a pleasure and not a chore.
Additionally, always check to see if the store offers cheap or free gift-wrapping. It’ll save on supplies and be one last gift for you to wrap.
7. Buy in Bulk
When it comes to certain party items, like food or booze, it’s often better to buy in bulk. Though it might feel like you’re spending more, you’ll actually be saving money in the long term. It also means you won’t be running around last minute, trying to restock on drained supplies.