Trees are going up, Christmas music is blasting from speakers and the weather has become that little bit chillier – Christmas is well and truly on its way. But, the festive season brings with it a very unique set of stresses, including Christmas shopping.
Whilst there is something lovely about buying special gifts for friends and family, it also takes up a lot of time and it can be tricky to choose the right gift, not forgetting the expense! But, whatever you feel about Christmas shopping, there are some ways in which you can make the much-dreaded shopping trip that little bit easier so that you can get home feeling calm and accomplished with your shopping success.
Why Is Christmas Shopping Stressful?
If you feel under pressure and overwhelmed when it comes to Christmas shopping, then you’re not alone. Christmas shopping is stressful for a few different reasons, whether it’s due to the shops being busier and warmer, increasing cost of day to day items let alone Christmas gifts or exceedingly high expectations from recipients. But, it all comes down to the planning and preparation, much like everything else to do with Christmas, in order for it to be a success. But, it doesn’t need to be stressful and now, more than ever, there are different options and ways to keep holiday shopping stress to a minimum.
Have A Shopping Location Plan
Location is everything when it comes to a successful Christmas shopping trip. You want to make sure that wherever you’re going shopping, there are the right shops there for you to get everything, or at least almost everything, you had in mind. This will, of course, be different for everyone – you may need a shopping centre with high street names for gifts for teens or children, whereas for older adults you might be interested in visiting unique boutiques or high-end stores to find them the perfect gift.
In December, most of the shops operate on festive opening hours, meaning they’ll be open for longer. However, it’s still important that, if you want a stress-free shopping experience, you go at a time when it will be less busy. Avoid weekends or lunch times, when people are off or might pop out on their lunch break. Instead, go early morning or in that lull period between lunch and the evening. You should also look to go on Monday or Tuesday, rather than later in the week, as most people will put it off to nearer the weekend. Once you know where you want to go shopping, be sure to check their opening hours.
Don’t Forget Convenience
You want this to be as stress-free as possible, so be sure to make this trip as convenient as possible. Plan your journey to and from your chosen shopping destination. If you’re driving, find nearby parking options. In city centres, you might find that parking costs are higher for inner-city parking compared to much cheaper spots just a short distance away, or if you’re looking for parking in Leeds, for example, then you might find that shopping centres offer free or heavily discounted parking.
Depending on how much you have on your list, you might be spending a full day shopping. If this is the case, don’t leave it too late before you get something to eat or sit down for 10 minutes with a coffee. If you shop whilst hungry or dehydrated, the experience will feel overwhelming and stressful. Take some sugary snacks with you to keep in your pocket and grab when you feel they are needed and pack a bottle of water at the very least!
Shopping centres can be very warm, whilst wandering around outdoor Christmas markets can become chilly, so dress suitably for your shopping location.
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In the run up to Black Friday and Christmas, most retailers will send out discount codes or offers for purchases made both online and in-store. If you spot a discount you want to use and it can be used in-store, then be sure to keep it handy so that you can quickly find it when paying.
For a more relaxed experience overall, you could completely forgo going out shopping and, instead, do it from the comfort of your sofa. With so many more retailers online, you have many more options than if you were to go to the shops, so if you’re looking for special or unique gifts, this option might be more suited. Have card details handy for paying and if you want to make the most out of retailer discounts, use a new email address or one which is separate from your usual one, to sign up for first order discounts. Be sure to check when the last postal dates are, though, so you don’t miss the cut off!