We all know the feeling, the panicky feeling you get in the run up to Christmas, where you have the longest list of people to buy for. Many of them are friends and family, who you don’t see every day but are still special to you, how do you know what they need and, more importantly, what they like?
Should you be dropping hints or asking them for ideas, or does that ruin the surprise? Do you want to be the potential party pooper who suggests using a wish list?! Equally, do you really want to receive another dodgy gift from Aunt Alice that you really don’t want? As we all start to think more and more about the environment and not wasting our resources with unwanted items, maybe a wish list does have a place at Christmas?
However, before going down the wish list route we have a few shopping tips for getting yourself organised for the festive season and finding those perfect gifts!
- Set your budget. This is always really hard to judge; you don’t want to be seen as mean and equally it’s just as bad to give a present that is obviously much more generous than the one you have been given. For many people there will be unspoken rules around the budget size but, when in doubt, we would always go for personal and thoughtful gift – so that the value doesn’t seem as important. If the person you are giving to is quite traditional, then maybe they would rather something small, but handmade in the UK, rather than a larger, more expensive imported gift. If they are more on trend then there are so many compassionate gifts that are now available, especially for the environmentally conscious or socially aware try giftsofcompassion.org.uk or www.shop.wwf.org.uk
- Secret Santa. Perfect for larger families, where the expense of Christmas can start to become an issue. Here at The Oak Tree and Acorn headquarters we’ve been experimenting with Secret Santa over the past couple of years and have found it particularly useful with modern, extended families. There are loads of apps that can now run the whole thing for you, so you don’t even have to be near each other to draw names out of a hat, try elfster.com . Suddenly, rather than having to find five or six small gifts for a range of people, you only have to purchase one. This means you can spend a little bit more money on the one gift, as you won’t be distracted with all the other gifts, and also that you will have more time to choose it. It’s win, win!
- Get in the mood. If you’re not feeling festive, you’re not going to enjoy the shopping experience! It can be difficult, particularly if there are still a few weeks to go, but why not buy in some festive smelling candles. We have been using carolrobertsonscents.com, then light the fire, turn on some twinkly lights and get into the Christmas vibe!
- All of these venues stock a wide range of individual, unique gifts – you’re bound to be able to tick lots of people of your list! If you can’t face going out, maybe it’s cold and wet outside, you can just put your feet up in front of the fire and get online to find the best gifts.
If none of this helps, then maybe the wish list is for you. It’s time to start asking people what they would like and dropping some big hints in return. Many websites now also have online wish lists that you can send through to people, try www.thingstogetme.com.
Finally, the best advise we can give you is to Plan, Plan, Plan! Set aside enough time to get your shopping done, write a list and stick to it. Get out there, buy the gifts, pat yourself on the back and still have time for a nice festive lunch and glass of wine to celebrate your own fantastic organisation!