That time of the year has dawned, yet again – you arrive at a shopping mall and cannot find parking and once you do, you wonder why you didn’t just walk or get dropped off there. Once you’ve hiked your way back to the mall to actually start doing some season shopping everywhere you turn you will see a bunch of teenagers walking around the shops in packs acting like they own the place, excessively large trees decorated to the nines, glimmering with tonnes of glitter. Boney M’s music will be playing very loudly over the intercom system and there will be queues everywhere and you’ll have to find the correct presents and foods to ensure that you and your family have a very happy festive season.
Nothing is going to make the above problems go in away BUT a good attitude to start off with is not a bad start. If, like myself, you are amazed when you hear people happily cheer that they have ALREADY completed their Christmas shopping and you proceed to panic and make yourself wonder what is wrong with yourself, well just because you haven’t had the time, patience or forethought to do so does not make you a bad person, however it means that you will have limited in order to complete all the tasks in time for Christmas.
The Thinking Stage
First things first, think before you go out. Create a list of people who you need to buy presents for. Write them down, and then think of either items you would like to give as a gift (within your budget of course) or what amount of money you would ideally like to spend on them, and sleep on it, you never when know when divine inspiration hits. Try not to buy useless items as gifts and put some real thought into the gift you are buying the other person. This is actually the hardest part. There is nothing worse than giving or receiving a gift that doesn’t mean anything and it was bought just because it is the socially accepted thing to do. If you’re going to do something, do it properly.
The Planning Stage
Once you have an idea of what you are going to be buying, plan where is the best place to purchase the items you are looking for. The days are gone when you need to hit the shopping malls and search, there is a very handy tool called the internet and more specifically Price Check where you can check where you will get the most bang for your buck. Regardless if you are dirt poor or filthy rich, it’s always worth to get the best offer available rather than throw your money away.
For the items which you have to visit the shopping malls for, try go early in the morning or late at night (a lot of big shopping malls extend their working hours until approximately 10pm at night which is ideal if you have full time commitments).
When planning your shopping sprees, make sure that you can do them as quickly and effectively as possible in order to avoid wasting too much time. Make allowances for coffee breaks.
The Wrapping Stage
Don’t make the same mistake I always do, no matter how hard I try, I always underestimate how strenuous this chore can be. Some presents are just not ‘wrappable’ (I know that is not a word but I am really far too tired to care right now) no matter how hard you try. Rather invest in a lovely little fancy bag which the gift will fit in and save yourself the heartache. Make sure before you start you have the adequate tools of: cello tape, scissors, and wrapping paper; bows and ribbons are nice to haves but not necessary.
Above everything else, try and ENJOY it, it’s a beautiful time of the year where you can reciprocate, in your own way by small gestures and presents for all the support and love you receive from your loved ones during the year. It’s about making other people happy and not holding a grudge about it… and if all else fails just smile, damnit.